February 5, 2024
In an increasingly turbulent world, young Canadians are grappling with the harsh realities of financial instability and deep concerns about the climate crisis, painting a gloomy outlook for their future. A recent national survey sheds light on the challenges faced by millennials and Gen Z in Canada.
The survey, conducted among 1,508 millennials and 1,507 Gen Z adults, reveals a stark reality: half of young Canadians are living paycheck-to-paycheck, and an equal number believe that the environmental situation will worsen in 2024. These findings point to a generation burdened by financial precarity and environmental anxieties.
For many young Canadians, the fear of a climate crisis looms large. A substantial 60% express concerns about the impact of climate change, a significant increase from 53% in 2022. Women, in particular, exhibit heightened apprehension, with 56% believing that the situation will deteriorate further in the coming year.
Moreover, the survey reflects a growing sense of powerlessness among the youth. In 2023, 62% of respondents feel unable to contribute to solving societal issues, up from 54% in the previous year. Gen Z, in particular, experiences a sharper increase in this feeling of helplessness.
The financial divide is also evident, with renters feeling the squeeze more than homeowners. Approximately three out of four renters find their rent to be excessively burdensome, while fewer than half of homeowners express similar concerns about their mortgage payments.
As climate anxieties reach unprecedented levels, a majority of respondents hold preceding generations "directly responsible for climate change." Gen Z, however, displays a more optimistic outlook on new technologies' potential to mitigate climate change compared to millennials.
In terms of mental health, Gen Z reports higher anxiety levels than millennials, with 60% and 54% respectively admitting to experiencing anxiety in the past year. Nonetheless, 66% of young Canadians still claim to feel "generally happy in life."
Despite the challenges they face, many young Canadians are determined to save for their future, with 71% currently holding some form of savings or investment. However, 51% are living paycheck-to-paycheck, a rise from 48% in 2022, highlighting the growing financial strain.
This survey underscores the complex interplay between financial instability, climate anxiety, and the youth's uncertain outlook. As young Canadians grapple with these daunting challenges, they are forced to confront the stormy horizons that lie ahead.