More than a quarter of Canadians on the prairies cannot handle an unexpected $500 expense, according to a new Statistics Canada survey.
The Canadian Social Survey on Quality of Life and Cost of Living was conducted between Oct. 21 to Dec. 4, 2022 in response to rising economic inflation.
When asked if they could cover a surprise $500 expense today, more than a quarter (28 per cent) in the Prairie region could not cope with such an expense. Even more people in the Atlantic region would be in trouble with one-third (33 per cent) of respondents saying they could not handle it.
Respondents in British Columbia were best equipped to handle the expense with fewer than one in five respondents (19 per cent) saying they could not cover it.
Across the country, young adults had the most difficulty with an extra $500 expense. More than one-third (35 per cent) of people aged 35 to 44 years said they could not handle the expense compared to 30 per cent of those aged 45 to 54 years, and 19 per cent of people aged 65 years and older.
The survey also showed that almost half (46 per cent) of people aged 35 to 44 years found it difficult to meet their financial needs in the previous 12 months compared to those aged 45 to 54 years (41 per cent) and people aged 65 years and older (25 per cent).
From a regional perspective, 38 per cent of respondents in both the Prairie and Atlantic regions reported difficulty meeting their household financial needs in the previous 12 months. Those in Quebec had the least difficulty at 29 per cent.
Both the Prairie and Atlantic regions were the least concerned about rising housing prices and the least likely to have their decision to move be influenced by the higher cost of housing. In the Prairie region, 23 per cent were concerned and in the Atlantic region it was 21 per cent.
Elsewhere, almost half of respondents in British Columbia (46 per cent) and Ontario (47 per cent) were very concerned with their ability to afford housing or rent.