A large share of Canadians feel like they’re just a few bucks away from financial destabilization. Statistics Canada (Stat Can) released the results from its Canadian Social Survey on Quality of Life and Cost of Living for Q3 2022. The cost of living crisis has made life unstable for nearly a third of households, with the risk largely concentrated in young adults. Soaring home prices and rents have been especially tough, with nearly half of Canadians worried about their ability to pay for shelter.
Canadian Prices Are Rising At The Fastest Rate In A Generation
Canadian consumer prices have surged at one of the fastest rates in history. In 2022, the consumer price index (CPI) reported a 10.9% increase, the largest since 1982. This followed a 6.8% increase in 2021, which is more than 3x the target rate. Stat Can notes that Transportation (+10.6%), food (+8.9%), and shelter (+6.9%) showed the fastest rising prices. This has put a significant share of Canadians under financial pressure, especially young adults.
Young Canadians Are Being Hit The Hardest
All households have been impacted by the rise in costs, but it’s become destabilizing to young adults. Over a third (35%) of households reported it was difficult to meet their financial needs over the past year. The highest share was found in people aged 35 to 44 years old (46%), followed by those between 45 and 54 years old (41%). People aged 65 and older were the least likely (25%) to report financial difficulty. Though 1 in 4 people reporting financial difficulty is still a relatively high number.
1 In 4 Canadians Can’t Handle An Unexpected Bill of $500
The cost of living crisis is so bad that 1 in 4 (26%) of households can’t handle an unexpected expense of $500. That skews to younger households, with those between 35 and 44 years old having the highest share (35%) of those that can’t handle an unexpected expense. It was followed by those 45 to 54 years old (30%), and seniors aged 65 and older were least likely (19%) to be unable to handle a relatively minor unexpected expense.
Nearly Half of Canada Is Worried About Shelter Prices
Canada’s one of the frothiest real estate markets in the world, so it’s no surprise housing was the big issue. Nearly half (44%) of households said they were concerned with their ability to afford a home or rent. It skews much higher for those between 15 and 24 years old (58%), with those between 25 and 34 years old (56%) not far behind. Those 65 years and older were least likely (27%) to be worried about shelter costs, but once again that’s still 1 in 4 seniors.
The problem with housing affordability isn’t just an abstract one, it’s already impacting young adults. Stat Can found 44% of people between 25 and 34 years old were impacted by shelter costs. These households were either forced to move, had their ability restricted, or needed to downsize to cope with accommodation costs. In contrast, fewer than 15% of households 45 or older gave this answer.
At this point, nearly half of Canada’s under 45 population have difficulty maintaining their shelter. That likely means even fewer are entertaining buying a home, as affordability crushes young adults.