Dr Nancy Worth

Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo

Nancy Worth is a feminist economic geographer at the University of Waterloo. She works with young adults/millennials/genY, examining how this generation is coping with insecure work and an increasingly inaccessible housing market.


Interview about the GenY at Home project

CTV KitchernerTelevision

Interview about the GenY at Home project

CTV KitchernerTelevision

Measuring Generation Millennial

TVO The AgendaTelevision

URL: http://tvo.org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/measuring-generation-millennial

What makes up a generation? Did seminal events such as Woodstock cement the baby boomers into a collective? Has growing up with technology formed the millennial experience? With no hard and fast rule on defining such large swaths of a population, distinctions are blurred and assumptions made. The Agenda busts some of the stereotypes about millennials.

The Mike Farwell Show

AM570 KitchenerRadio/Podcast

AM570 KitchenerRadio/Podcast

AM570 KitchenerRadio/Podcast

AM900 CHMLRadio/Podcast

Toronto’s Housing Boom Refills Empty Nests, Driving Prices Even Higher

New York TimesPrint

URL: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/12/world/canada/torontos-housing-boom-refills-empty-nests-driving-prices-even-higher.html?_r=0

"Nancy Worth, a geographer at the University of Waterloo, said she had seen the same in interviews and surveys of several hundred back-at-home adult children around Toronto.

“Parents recognize how difficult it is, and they are happy to give a hand up,” Professor Worth said. The children, in turn, “challenge that stereotype of the lazy millennial who lives in the basement, playing video games and sponging off their parents.”

“They’re making a smart, strategic choice,” she said."

Living at home after graduation might be the most adult thing you'll ever do: Teitel

Toronto millennials are living at home to save money, not because they're lazy, survey finds

Why do millennials live with their parents? Money and tradition, report finds

Researching the Lifecourse: Critical Reflections from the Social Sciences
by Nancy Worth & Irene Hardill
Policy Press

This book focuses on one of the most useful perspectives in social sciences: the lifecourse. It offers a distinctive approach to the topic, aiming to truly cover the whole of the lifecourse, focusing on innovative methods and case studies from Europe and North America to connect theory and practice across the social sciences. Featuring methods that are linked to questions of time, space, and mobilities, it offers both rich methodologies and practical details for those working in the social sciences as researchers or practitioners.

Intergenerational Space
by Robert Vanderbeck & Nancy Worth

Intergenerational Space offers insight into the transforming relationships between younger and older members of contemporary societies. The chapter selection brings together scholars from around the world in order to address pressing questions both about the nature of contemporary generational divisions as well as the complex ways in which members of different generations are (and can be) involved in each other’s lives. These questions include: how do particular kinds of spaces and spatial arrangements (e.g. cities, neighbourhoods, institutions, leisure sites) facilitate and limit intergenerational contact and encounters? What processes and spaces influence the intergenerational negotiation and contestation of values, beliefs, and social memory, producing patterns of both continuity and change? And if generational separation and segregation are in fact significant social problems across a range of contexts—as a significant body of research and commentary attests—how can this be ameliorated? The chapters in this collection make original contributions to these debates drawing on original research from Belgium, China, Finland, Poland, Senegal, Singapore, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Feeling precarious: millennial women and work

Published by Environment & Planning D: Society and Space 34:4 pp. 601-616

In Precarious Life (2004), Judith Butler writes about how a shared sense of fear and vulnerability opens the possibility of recognizing interdependency. This is a wider understanding of precarity than is often present in human geography – recognizing the consequences and possibilities of feeling precarious. Focusing on work and the workplace, I examine the working life stories of millennial women in Canada, a labour market where unemployment and underemployment are common experiences for young workers. Using work narratives of insecurity, I argue that one potential consequence of understanding precariousness is the recognition of our social selves, using millennial women’s stories of mutual reliance and connection with parents, partners and friends to contrast assumptions of the individualizing, neoliberal, Gen Y worker. I use a feminist understanding of agency and autonomy to argue that young women’s stories about work are anything but individual experiences of flexibility or precarity – instead, I explain how relationships play a critical role in worker agency and whether work feels flexible or precarious. Overall I consider what a feminist theorizing of interdependence and precariousness offers geography, emphasizing the importance of subjectivity and relationality.

URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0263775815622211

Who we are at work: millennial women, everyday inequalities and insecure work

Published by Gender Place & Culture 23:9 pp. 1302-1314

Based on research with millennial women in Canada, this article examines the process of workplace identity, or (un)conscious strategies of identity management that young women employ at work. First, despite increasing labour market participation from women, young women’s experience of the workplace can be one of precarity and insecurity. Many millennial women have responded with a ‘positive front’ – saying yes to all work tasks while highlighting their likability and acceptance of the status quo. This is not seen as a permanent strategy, but rather one that gets you into the workplace and ‘liked’ until your work speaks for itself. Second, and operating at the same time, young women also use tactics to confront intersections of ageism/sexism in the workplace. While some employ conscious strategies to be ‘taken seriously’ through dress, small talk, even taking on stereotypical traits of masculinity to be recognized as competent, others explicitly confront inequality through ‘girlie feminism’ with a pro-femininity work identity that challenges the masculine-coded norms of how a successful workplace operates and what it looks like. In jobs of all types, who we are at work is a constantly shifting negotiation between how we are treated and seen by others, the workplace as a social space, our past experiences and our own expectations. Considering young women’s work identities reveals how power and privilege operate in the workplace, and the possibilities of young women’s agential challenges to inequitable workplace norms and a precarious labour market.

URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/0966369X.2016.1160037


Nancy Worth’s research agenda as whole takes an identities approach to focus on issues of social justice and equity—the lived experience of the economic. From her work with young people on school to work transitions, to more recent projects with young adults on precarious work and returning home to live with parents, Worth's research centres on how age intersects with other social categories of difference, especially gender and social class, across space at various scales (including the workplace, home and the city)—understanding economic processes through the people who experience them. She looks forward to continuing her focus on young adulthoods and Gen Y, moving beyond questions of how they are responding to economic crises and austerity and forward to questions about how this generation will change the workplace and social relations more broadly.


  • Millennials
  • GenY
  • Work
  • Housing
  • Generations


  • University of Leeds
    PhD, 2010