A succession of economic downturns over the last decades has led many to express concerns that the next generation of Canadians will be less, and not more, well-off than the ones that preceded it. This issue was addressed by the Environics Institute for Survey research in its most recent Focus Canada survey. The survey finds that one in four Canadians feel worse off, financially speaking, than their parents were at their age, and almost one in two say the next generation will be worse off than they are. For these Canadians, the promise of economic and social mobility seems unfulfilled.
The situation, however, is not getting progressively worse. Views on these questions have fluctuated somewhat over the past 30 years, and were certainly more pessimistic a generation ago, in the mid-1990s. The survey results show a link between perceptions of one’s current financial situation and educational attainment, pointing to the important role that education now plays in underpinning social mobility. Canada also continues to hold considerable promise for immigrants, who are much more likely than non-immigrants to expect that the next generation will be better off than they are.
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