Canada's middle class breaks alarmingly along age lines
New report shows how Canada's middle class breaks alarmingly along age lines

Middle-Class-Break.jpgOur latest report shows there is no uniform squeeze on the middle class as suggested by federal opposition parties, nor a uniform gain as urged by the Prime Minister. The squeeze is real, but it primarily hurts Canadians under age 45.

We report that:

  • Canadians in their mid-40s and younger earn thousands less for full-time work compared to 1976- 1980 even though they devote years more to postsecondary.

  • The typical young person has to work five years more to save a down payment on an average home.

  • Despite low interest rates, today’s young person works a month more per year to pay the mortgage.

  • The same housing prices that squeeze younger generations for time and money drive wealth accumulation for those aged 55+ by at least $165,000 compared to the same age group in 1977.

  • Added wealth for those 55+ comes on top of improvements to total household income that are $14,000 to $17,000 higher than in 1976-1980.

This information is critical heading into the federal budget and election, because Canadian governments of all political stripes have failed for decades to prioritize younger generations with the same urgency they prioritize others when establishing their spending goals.

Our study finds that:

  • Canadian governments have prioritized adapting to the health and retirement income needs of the aging population by adding $58 billion in annual spending for those age 65+ compared to 1976.

  • There has been no corresponding increase in government revenue to pay for even half of this additional spending on retirees.

  • As a result, combined spending on parental time, household income and community services like childcare has remained flat over the last 40 years, while education spending has dropped.

  • What has increased markedly for younger people is the government debt/GDP level they inherit today compared to the same age group in 1976, along with risks associated with climate change.

We can and should protect medical care and old age security for the aging population. But no grandmother knowingly chooses to pay for her medical care by not paying for her children’s child care. Nor does any aging father knowingly opt for his retirement security to be funded by asking his kids to pay tuition that is double what was charged for postsecondary a generation ago.

Yet these are precisely the trade-offs that our governments impose on Canadians. We published this study as part of our plan to end these harmful age trade-offs in politics so Canada works once again for all generations.

The full study, Population Aging, Generational Equity and the Middle Class, is available at:

Ryan Vandecasteyen
A full service digital creative agency that's all about working with the people and organizations that protect our planet and make the world a better place.
Canada's middle class breaks alarmingly along age lines
Canada's middle class breaks alarmingly along age lines
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