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Half of British Columbians finding it hard to ‘make ends meet,’ poll finds

Housing, groceries and transportation some of the spending areas residents are most concerned about
The majority of British Columbians in a March 2024 Research Co. poll say they’re spending more on groceries now than in 2020. In this file photo, a customer shops in a grocery store in Wheeling, Ill., Friday, Jan. 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

British Columbians are continuing to struggle with the costs of living, according to a recent poll.

Research Co. surveyed 800 B.C. adults earlier this month and found 48 per cent of them are having a moderately to very difficult time making ends meet.

Around two-thirds said they’re also finding it hard to put aside money or have any left over for leisure activities.

Those numbers were highest among younger people. For instance, 56 per cent of respondents aged 18 to 34 said it was difficult to pay for necessities, compared to just 30 per cent of those aged 55-plus. Similarly, people in the younger category were more likely than those in the older age group to find it very difficult to save (73 versus 51 per cent) or have money to spend on things like dining out (61 versus 44 per cent).

Broken down by region, the proportion of respondents having a hard time was fairly consistent across the province(43 to 47 per cent), except in southern B.C., where 63 per cent of people reported struggling to make ends meet.

The percent of people finding it moderately or very difficult to pay for necessities was also notably higher for Indigenous (69 per cent) and South Asian (63 per cent) people, compared to East Asian people (45 per cent) or those from European origins (37 per cent).

Asked what costs had increased since 2020, the highest percent of respondents cited groceries (78 per cent), transportation (67 per cent), housing (57 per cent) and streaming services/cable TV (49 per cent). About a quarter of people said books, newspapers or magazines have also gone up in price.

Considering their current overall financial situation as compared to things prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 33 per cent of respondents said things were the same, 40 per cent said things have gotten worse and 23 per cent said things have gotten better. Here, younger people reported more improvement than older ones. Forty-one per cent of those aged 18 to 34 said things have gotten better, compared to just 12 per cent of those aged 55 or older.

The poll was conducted from March 4 to 6 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

Hi, I'm a provincial reporter with Black Press Media, where I've worked since 2020.
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