Cost of living drives pessimism

Post Date


Vancouver B.C. (12 September 2023) — Pessimism exceeds optimism among Metro Vancouver residents. In a survey conducted earlier in September, 56% are pessimistic about the future of their community, while 31% are optimistic.

Groups more likely to be pessimistic:

  • 18–34 year olds (63% vs 49–55% among older residents)
  • South East (Surrey and Langley) and Central region (Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster) residents (64% and 58% vs 41–53%)

Why are Metro Vancouver residents pessimistic?

There hasn’t been a real direction for change coming from the local government. Every year for the past 3 years the demand for affordable housing has far surpassed supply.

Female 18–24 years, Vancouver

Everything has gone up in price so much we may be leaving the Lower Mainland and moving to somewhere remote and cheaper up north.

Male 55–64 years, Coquitlam

The same survey finds cost of living and housing affordability dominate residents’ top concerns.

Cost of living

Three-in-ten (33%) Metro Vancouver adults cite cost of living as their top concern, these levels highest among younger adults and decreasing with age:

  • 18 to 34 years: 41%
  • 35 to 44 years: 38%
  • 45 to 54 years: 33%
  • 55 to 64 years: 32%
  • 65 years and older: 21%

The cost of living impacts my ability to do almost anything I would want to do in life, such as have a family, retire, spend more time with loved ones, have greater options in terms of jobs, do the activities I enjoy, reduce day to day stress and many other items.

Male, 25–34 years, Vancouver

The issue is concerning because many people are being stretched thin. Some people are having to choose between shelter and food.

Female, 45–54 years, Coquitlam

Housing affordability

One-quarter (25%) are most concerned with housing affordability. Similar to cost of living, housing affordability is of greatest concern to the region’s youngest residents:

  • 18 to 34 years: 32%
  • 35 to 44 years: 21%
  • 45 to 54 years: 23%
  • 55 to 64 years: 24%
  • 65 years and older: 19%

Groups most likely to report housing affordability as their top concern:

  • City of Vancouver residents: 29% vs 23% elsewhere in Metro Vancouver
  • Less formally educated (up to high school): 33% vs 20–29% among the more formally educated
  • Lower household income residents (under $100K): 28% vs 19–23% among those with higher incomes

Housing is too costly and I am truly frightened that one day it will become impossible to find a home.

Female, 45–54 years, Burnaby

It’s a legacy of ashes we Boomers have left for our children and grandchildren. I’m profoundly distressed.

Male, 75+ years, Vancouver

For more information contact:

Barbara Justason, Justason Market Intelligence

+1 604 783 4165 / / twitter: @BarbJustason


Research Notes

These are the findings of a Justason Market Intelligence (JMI) survey of Metro Vancouver adults. All respondents were aged 18 years and older. Conducted and sponsored by Justason Market Intelligence for public education, this online survey was completed September 1–8, 2023.

The sample source is the firm’s online panel of BC consumers, which is recruited primarily through random digit dialling of landlines and mobile phones. The final sample was weighted to match the demographic and regional characteristics of Metro Vancouver according to the most recent census. A probability sample of 1,011 carries a margin of error of ±3.1 percentage points 95 per cent of the time. Smaller base sizes, including population subgroups, carry wider error margins.

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