Angus Reid poll suggests half of Canadians feel overwhelmed by rising cost of living

New polling data from the Angus Reid Institute shows how worried Canadians are about rising prices due to rising inflation.

The survey shows that 53% of participants agree they cannot meet financial demands, while 44% say they have not yet felt that level of pressure.

Additionally, 51% felt they would be unable to afford an unexpected $1,000 expense, including one in seven who said they couldn’t handle a surprise bill of any amount since their budget is already stretched as much as possible.

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Childcare costs have also weighed heavily on some Canadians. Two in five households, or 39%, with children in child care say it is “difficult” or “difficult” to pay for it. About 46% describe it as “manageable”.

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However, these pressures are felt more by residents of the Prairies, according to the results.

About 36% of respondents say they have too much debt. Comparing this result between provinces, the institute found that this figure was highest in the Prairies, with 51% in Saskatchewan, 46% in Manitoba and 45% in Alberta.

As part of the study, the Angus Reid Institute says it has developed a cost of living index to better understand how household budgets are coping with the rising cost of living in the country. This includes expenses such as housing, grocery and childcare bills, and the amount left in a household’s monthly budget.

According to the Angus Reid Institute’s Cost of Living Index, 31% believe they are staying ahead of rising costs, while 27% say they are losing ground.

Angus Reid Institute

The organization divided the results into four groups: staying ahead of the rising cost of living, keeping up with them, losing momentum and feeling left behind.

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Thirty-one percent of respondents say they feel like they’re staying ahead, while 27 percent are on the other side and say they’re losing momentum in the face of rising bills. The left behind and retained categories reached 21% each.

According to the institute, Saskatchewan and Atlantic Canada are the most troubled regions. Sixty-five percent of those in Saskatchewan are ranked in the harder half of the Angus Reid index, while 57 percent of those in the Maritimes are.

Additionally, Saskatchewanians say they are more likely to be unable to afford expenses outside of their budget. Only 39% of respondents from Atlantic Canada and Saskatchewan residents would likely be able to manage an expense of more than $1,000. The next lowest was Manitoba at 44%.

Fifty-nine per cent of people in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Atlantic Canada say they can’t keep up with the cost of living – the highest figure of any province.

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Participants also expressed more concern about the potential loss of jobs in Western Canada. At least two in five people in the three Prairie provinces admit they fear someone in their home will lose their job due to the economy.

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In Saskatchewan, 41% agree they could lose their job because of the economy — the third highest percentage among the provinces.

When it comes to saving money over the past few months, more than half of Canadians, 53%, have cut back on discretionary spending. Forty-one percent say they are postponing a purchase, 31 percent are driving less, 29 percent are canceling or reducing their travel plans and 22 percent are postponing or not contributing to an RRSP or TFSA.

Survey results indicate that 40% of Saskatchewan households have driven less in recent months to reduce spending.

Angus Reid Institute

Forty per cent of Saskatchewanians are saving money by driving less, according to survey results. This is one of the highest figures next to Atlantic Canada at 46%. Meanwhile, 36% say they have canceled or postponed trips – the highest percentage among the provinces with British Columbia.

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In January, inflation measured by the consumer price index exceeded 5% for the first time since 1991.

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