The Canadian Public Outlook for the Rest of 2024: Housing, Personal Finances, and Geopolitics

Eddie Sheppard

Eddie Sheppard

Between February 29 and March 6, 2024, Abacus Data conducted a nationwide survey with 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and above to examine the multifaceted challenges Canadians anticipate in 2024, particularly focusing on the persistent housing crisis, financial insecurity, and government stability. The results reveal widespread concerns regarding housing affordability, financial stability, and trust in governance, emphasizing the necessity for comprehensive policy measures to address these issues and inspire hope for a brighter and more promising future for all citizens. This sentiment not only reflects the adversities Canadians face but also signals a growing disillusionment with the prospects for improvement.

The Ongoing Housing Crisis

Canadians are overwhelmingly concerned about the housing crisis, with a substantial 68% anticipating worsening affordability and accessibility in 2024, while only 10% are optimistic about improvement. This sobering perspective underscores the urgent need to tackle issues of housing affordability and accessibility.

The plight of first-time buyers is particularly worrisome, as a staggering 74% of Canadians foresee the housing market becoming more unaffordable and less accessible for this demographic, sharply contrasting with the meager 5% holding out hope for better affordability and accessibility. Additionally, a concerning 57% of prospective first-time homebuyers express pessimism about their chances of homeownership or have abandoned the idea altogether, compared to 48% who held the same view in September 2023.

Government (at all levels) must prioritize initiatives and policies aimed at bolstering housing affordability, which may involve expanding housing supply, implementing rent controls, and providing financial assistance to prospective buyers.

Financial Insecurity

There is a troubling pattern regarding Canadians’ financial security, with half of the population (52%) expressing feelings of personal financial insecurity, while 33% acknowledge having some concerns despite considering their finances adequate. This concern is exacerbated by the revelation that 71% of Canadians report their household debt levels are increasing, leading to financial strain and instability.

Expectations for economic recovery in 2024 are marked by skepticism, as 65% of Canadians anticipate a slow and uncertain trajectory. Moreover, 69% of Canadians believe that inflation and the cost of living are going to continue to rise, affecting people’s finances.

Amidst these apprehensions about the economic outlook, many Canadians are concerned about the social divisions exacerbated by the current landscape. Specifically, a majority (53%) of respondents worry about growing economic inequality and social disparities.

Overall, these findings reflect widespread pessimism and uncertainty about 2024’s economic outlook. Policymakers should address economic stability, inflation control, and affordability concerns to restore confidence. Measures aimed at promoting economic growth, stabilizing prices, and supporting households amidst rising living costs may be necessary to address these challenges effectively.

Government Stability

Public confidence in government policies and economic stability appears fragile, with 61% of Canadians expressing concerns about the state of governance, while 70% perceive global economic conditions and geopolitical risks as volatile. To restore trust and ensure stability, policymakers must prioritize transparency, accountability, and effective governance practices. Furthermore, proactive engagement with global partners to address geopolitical risks and foster international cooperation is essential for safeguarding Canada’s economic interests in an increasingly uncertain global landscape.

The Upshot

Overall, the data reveals deep-seated challenges facing Canadians across housing affordability, financial stability, and trust in governance. The prevailing sentiment underscores a pervasive sense of uncertainty and frustration regarding the future. While encountering challenging times is not uncommon, the overarching concern is the dwindling hope for positive change – individuals feel as though they’re paddling against the current, fostering a strong sense of pessimism. This sentiment reflects not only the adversities faced by Canadians but also a mounting disillusionment with the prospects for improvement.

These perceptions have the potential to influence the behaviors and expectations of consumers, workers, and voters, molding their decisions and attitudes. The erosion of trust and optimism regarding one’s future outlook poses considerable challenges for effective policymaking and governance, particularly as many Canadians feel disillusioned with current efforts.

In light of this, Canadians urgently require relief, and the government must demonstrate its commitment to tackling these issues by offering viable solutions that provide relief to Canadians and restore hope for a brighter future. Voters are looking for leadership that can address their needs and restore their confidence in the government’s ability to govern effectively and improve their quality of life.


The survey was conducted with 1,500 Canadian adults from February 28 to March 6, 2024. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.53%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here:

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