The year ahead: Challenges from 2023 linger, but Canadians enter 2024 more optimistic

One-in-five worry about the next year bringing more stress, worsening finances


January 4, 2024 – The problems of 2023 – inflation, international conflict, global warming – may have followed Canadians into the new year, but many are still welcoming 2024 with an optimistic view.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds a plurality of Canadians believe 2024 offers plenty of positive potential. More than two-in-five (44%) say they expect the year to offer more good than bad, outnumbering those (40%) who expect an average year. A minority of fewer than one-in-five (17%) expect the worst from the year ahead.

There is plenty of hope from Canadians that they will see improvements in their physical health (46%), overall quality of life (41%) and mental health (39%). Sources of despair seem to be finances (20% expect it to worsen) and stress (19%).

On the latter front, it’s younger Canadians who are feeling the pressure. More than one-quarter (27%) of those aged 18- to 34-years-old say they expect higher stress in the coming year, double the number of those older than 54 (13%) who say the same.

Money woes appear to be a factor – one-quarter (24%) of those under the age of 35 expect their personal financial situation to worsen in 2024.

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

INDEX

  • Plurality enter 2024 expecting more good than bad

  • Those dissatisfied with 2023 more negative on future

  • Hope for improving physical health; concerns over stress levels, finances

  • Younger Canadians twice as likely to worry about increased stress levels in 2024

  • Lower income households more pessimistic about 2024

  • Parents more concerned with leisure time, expect better physical health

 

Plurality enter 2024 expecting more good than bad

Positive mindsets among Canadians are more than twice as common as negative ones as they look ahead. More than two-in-five (43%) expect more good than bad from 2024, while one-in-six (17%) say they expect bad things from the next year. Men are more pessimistic about the future year than women, but a plurality of all age groups are expecting good things from 2024:

Those dissatisfied with 2023 more negative on future

The Angus Reid Institute’s Life Satisfaction Index measures Canadians’ satisfaction with nine elements of their life. Those who found themselves dissatisfied after 2023 are less likely to be optimistic about their future. However, many (41%) in that group expect neither good nor bad things from 2024. Meanwhile, the majority (64%) of those who are very satisfied with their life are brimming with positivity for what the next 12 months will bring:

Regionally there are larger pockets of negativity on the east coast. One-quarter in Atlantic Canada say they expect more bad than good from 2024, the most in the country. In Saskatchewan, more than half (52%) see positive things for themselves from the next year. Half (49%) in Quebec also believe 2024 will offer more sweet than sour:

Hope for improving physical health; concerns over stress levels, finances

As Canadians look ahead to the year that might be in 2024, there is much more hope than despair when it comes to various elements of their lives. Canadians are most optimistic the next 12 months will see improvement in their physical health, their overall quality of life and their mental health.

More negativity is seen when Canadians are asked to project what 2024 will bring to their finances and stress levels. For each, one-in-five expect those factors to worsen next year:

Younger Canadians twice as likely to worry about increased stress levels in 2024

Youth typically brings optimism, but younger Canadians appear to be feeling more pressure in their daily lives than older ones. One-quarter (27%) of Canadians under 35 expect their stress levels to increase in 2024, double the number of those older than 54 who say the same:

Finances perhaps play a role. One-in-four Canadians under 35 expect their economic situation to worsen in the year ahead. However, there is more optimism on this front from younger generations, especially from men under 55, half of whom expect fiscal improvement in their personal lives:

Lower income households more pessimistic about 2024

Previous ARI research showed that income level played a significant role in determining Canadians’ life satisfaction. It also appears to play a role as Canadians evaluate their future. Canadians living in the lowest income households are much more pessimistic about what 2024 will hold for their personal finances, stress levels, and physical and mental health than those living in higher income households:

*Smaller sample size, interpret with caution

Parents more concerned with leisure time, expect better physical health

Parents found less satisfaction in their lives than those living in households without kids when they were asked to assess 2023, including their physical health – half said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with this aspect of their life.

Related: How was it for you? Canadians weigh in on 2023, reflecting gratitude, exhaustion & less happiness than past years

Looking ahead to 2024, Canadians living with children offer hope that they next year will be better for their physical health at higher levels than those without:

However, parents express more pessimism when it comes to the leisure time they will get to enjoy in 2024. One-in-six (16%) expect that to worsen in the next 12 months, more than the one-in-eleven (9%) Canadians who live in households without children who say the same:

Survey Methodology

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from Dec. 15-19, 2023 among a representative randomized sample of 1,516 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For detailed results by the Life Satisfaction Index, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodology, click here.

To read the questionnaire, click here.

Image – Erik Eastman/Unsplash

MEDIA CONTACT:

Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org @davekorzinski

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