Three-in-Five Canadians Satisfied with Country’s Economic Conditions

Most Canadians appear satisfied with the way the national economy is performing, and specific personal financial concerns have subsided over the course of the past year, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,003 Canadian adults, 63 per cent of respondents say the national economy is in good or very good shape, while 33 per cent say it is in poor or very poor shape.

Across the country, the highest level of economic confidence is in Alberta (76%) and the lowest in Atlantic Canada (56%). Since a similar survey conducted in October 2010, the proportion of Canadians who feel the national economy is in good or very good shape has increased by 15 points.

More than half of Canadians (61%) rate their own personal financial situation as good or very good, while 38 per cent deem it bad or very bad. Also, while most Canadians (60%) expect the national economy to remain the same over the next six months, 22 per cent of respondents foresee a decline, and 12 per cent expect an improvement.

Personal Financial Concerns

The biggest financial issue for Canadians right now is the value of their investments, with 36 per cent of respondents saying they have worried occasionally or frequently about it over the past couple of months. One third of Canadians (32% have worried about the safety or their savings, and three-in-ten (29%) have worried about unemployment affecting the household, while only one-in-five have been concerned about being able to pay the mortgage or rent (20%, down 11 points since October 2010) or their employer running into serious financial trouble (19%).

Inflation and Debt

Despite the confidence expressed in the domestic economy, Canadians are still expecting to pay higher prices over the next six months, particularly for groceries (81%) and gasoline (80%). Two-in-five (40%) also think real estate will be more expensive, while one third (34%) expect to pay more for a new car, and one-in-five (20%) believe a new television to be more expensive.

If Canadians had an extra $1,000 they could use for anything, they would allocate the largest proportion ($360) to paying down debt. The rest of the money would be allocated to savings ($167), covering day-to-day expenses ($160), a holiday ($82), a big purchase such as a car or a home renovation ($81), buying personal gifts or treats ($78), investing in mutual funds ($37), and investing in individual stocks ($35).


Confidence in the Canadian economy has definitely improved over the past two years, when respondents were evenly divided in their assessment. Now, those who think the economy is doing well outnumber the ones who think it is doing badly practically by a 2-to-1 margin. Albertans remain particularly buoyant, but no region is providing a negative assessment of the country’s current economic standing. There is also a slight uptick in the proportion of respondents who feel their personal financial situation is good.

The other aspect that shows a shift since October 2010 is the way Canadians feel about specific financial concerns. The proportion of respondents who have worried occasionally or frequently about most of the five issues tested has fallen over the past 12 months, with a double-digit drop on the number of Canadians who are concerned about being able to pay their mortgage or rent.

However, while most Canadians expect the economy to remain the same, about one-in-five believe that it will decline—a proportion that is highest in Quebec (27%) and lowest in Alberta (13%).

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)

Methodology: From October 12 to October 13, 2011, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,003 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.1%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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Canadian Economy