4 in 10 Canadians believe they are ‘worse off’ than their parents: Ipsos poll

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WATCH: A new snapshot of Canadian attitudes shows almost half of Canadians believe they are “worse off” than their parents were at the same age. Eric Sorensen has the results of an Ipsos poll for Global News – Jan 13, 2016

For the first time in almost three decades, nearly half of Canadians believe they are “worse off” than their parents were at the same age, according to Ipsos polling data.

A new Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, shows that 43 per cent of Canadians believe they are worse off than their parents – an increase of 30 percentage points from when the older generation was asked in 1989.

READ MORE: A 60-cent loonie and $10 oil? Sure, why not?

And if you think it’s just Millennials who believe they face a bleaker future, the poll finds it’s true among all Canadians. Forty-five per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds believe they are in a worse position, while 49 per cent of 35- to 54-year-olds believe they are worse off. Thirty-six per cent of Canadians 55 and over believe the statement is true.

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Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, said places like Canada have always believed in a “social contract” – the idea that through hard work “one generation will do better than the next generation.” But now, younger Canadians aren’t so sure.

“As we have moved into those [Gen. Z, Gen. Y and Millennial] generations those expectations of being able to perform better than previous generations have been smashed,” said Bricker. “As a result you have a lot of anxiety that older generations have a hard time understanding, but is very real for the people experiencing it.”

When looking at the future, the poll shows Canadians think the next generation will have an even tougher time.  At 63 per cent, Albertans were the most likely to say the next generation will be worse off financially, up 21 points from 1989, followed closely by British Columbians at 59 per cent, an increase of 12 percentage points over the same time period.

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Bricker says the costs of education and owning a house are “wildly” different than 27 years ago. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board the average home price in 1985 was $109,094. In 2015, the average home in Toronto will set you back by $566,696.

READ MORE: Home ownership for millennials – are they dreaming?

“You have got all these people coming into the workplace who have limited aspirations of buying a house. And saddled with all of this student debt,” he said. “It’s big problem.”

Given the economic picture across the country there’s little reason for optimism for the future. Falling oil prices, which could reach US$10 a barrel, coupled with mounting business and consumer pessimism have led to massive layoffs in Alberta.

As federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau begins a cross-country tour to consult with Canadians ahead of the Liberals’ first budget, the dark economic picture is weighing on people’s minds.

READ MORE: Alberta men have higher unemployment than Canadian average for the first time since 1989

“It’s a bit of a wake-up call to everyone who thinks young people today are going to be the same as young people in the past,” Bricker said.

“The new generations are much more anxious and don’t necessarily buy into this idea of social progress that we hold so dear is part of their lives.”

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The poll also found almost four in 10 Canadians believe it’s become harder to make ends meet in the last five years.

Alberta again leads the way with 45 per cent of residents who say it has become more difficult to pay the bills over the past five years. The province’s unemployment rate increased from 5.7 per cent to 7 per cent over those five years.

READ MORE: Canadians want work. Why have so many stopped looking?

Forty per cent of Quebecers and 39 per cent of respondents in Atlantic Canada also say paying the bills has become harder over the last five years.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan were the most positive with only 26 per cent of respondents saying it’s harder now than five years ago followed by Ontario residents at 32 per cent, and B.C. residents at 36 per cent.

“This is a big challenge for government, it’s a big challenge for business, it’s even a big challenge for educational institutions,” said Bricker.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

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The Ipsos poll was conducted on behalf of Global News between January 4 and January 7, with a sample of 1,007 Canadians interviewed online. The poll is considered accurate within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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