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Over Half of Canadians Struggling With Cost of Living, Angus Reid Poll

Published: February 28, 2022
According to recently released data by Angus Reid over half of Canadians say they are struggling to afford daily expenses and that their incomes are being outpaced by the rising cost of living. (Image: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

According to new data released by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) on Feb. 28 over half of Canadians say they feel as though their incomes are outpaced by the rising cost of living. 

As the price of goods continue to rise 53 percent of Canadians agree that “they can’t keep up” while 44 percent say they “have yet to feel that level of pressure,” according to ARI

The cost of food, gasoline and energy are cited as the primary factors impacting household budgets. 

In addition, 51 percent of Canadians say that they would be unable to afford an unexpected $1,000 expense and one-in-seven say they couldn’t manage a surprise bill of any amount because their household budget is already stretched too thin. 

“To make their money go further, three-quarters of Canadians say they’ve modified their spending in recent months. Discretionary spending (53%), major purchases (41%), extra trips in the car (31%) and vacations (29%) are some of the things that Canadians say they’ve foregone recently. One-in-five (22%) say savings have been deprioritized,” ARI reported. 

Debt and childcare costs weigh heavily

Over one-third of Canadians say they have too much debt with that number closer to half when looking at Canada’s prairie provinces. In Saskatchewan 51 percent of respondents say they are struggling with debt with 45 percent in Alberta and 46 percent in Manitoba feeling the same way. 

In Quebec, 31 percent of respondents say they have too much debt and in British Columbia 36 percent feel the same way.

The data indicates that households with children are more likely to cut back on discretionary spending and to delay major purchases. Contributions to savings, RRSPs and TFSAs are more likely to be postponed by households with children as opposed to childless households. 

Two-in-five parents say they find it tough or difficult to manage costs of childcare.

In January, for the first time since 1991, inflation in Canada, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), surpassed five percent. 

Numerous regional and demographic discrepancies

The struggle to cover expenses is not equal across the country. 

In Saskatchewan, home to over 1.1 million Canadians, roughly two-thirds or 65 percent of the population are challenged with covering their expenses and three-in-five, or 57 percent of Canadians, in Atlantic Canada express challenges in affording daily expenses as well.

The poll indicates that a larger proportion of women than men are being squeezed by the rising cost of living with those aged 35 to 54 being much more likely than other age groups to be “Left Behind.”

“Three-quarters of those in households earning less than $25,000 annually are either Losing Pace or Left Behind. Meanwhile, more than two-in-five (45%) of those in households earning $150,000 or more annually are Staying Ahead,” ARI reported. 

Mass majority stressed about money

Only roughly one-quarter (28 percent) of Canadians say they are not stressed about money while an average of seven-in-ten (70 percent) say they are. 

When asked if they agree with the statement “I’m never really stressed about money” 75 percent of Canadians aged 35 to 54 say they disagree and a staggering 80 percent of people aged 18 to 34 disagree with the statement.  

In addition, 46 percent of Canadians in the highest earning bracket say they are stressed about money.