Centraide and Leger create the first financial anxiety index: 85% of Quebecers are experiencing economic stress

November 1, 2022 •  By Cristina Roque
Femme en détresse au milieu d'une foule

Montreal, November 1, 2022 — Today, Centraide of Greater Montreal and Leger unveiled the first-ever financial anxiety index among Quebecers that will quantify changes in economic stress over time. The index is currently 38.8 out of 100, indicating that financial anxiety remains relatively mild for the Quebec population as a whole. However, 85% of Quebecers are experiencing financial anxiety at levels varying from mild to extreme.  

This situation is particularly concerning for the 42% of Quebecers whose anxiety is moderate to extreme. Aside from worrying about repaying debts and having enough money for retirement, they have to cope with the fear of unexpected expenses and the lack of access to home ownership. For these individuals, simply covering essential expenses becomes an everyday problem. More than one out of two young people aged 18 to 34 (55%) are experiencing these higher levels of anxiety.  

“The ever-increasing rate of inflation is a major source of anxiety. These results are consistent with what we are seeing on the ground. Just like the pandemic, the current economic situation is affecting vulnerable people the most. They are bearing the brunt of rising costs, which undermine their ability to meet basic needs, such as housing, food and transportation. Financial stress has serious effects on mental health. This index will let us track changes in financial concerns and their negative impacts,” said Claude Pinard, President and Executive Director, Centraide of Greater Montreal. 

Vulnerable populations affected most 

Financial anxiety affects everyone differently. Groups that are at a higher risk of poverty are more heavily represented in the levels of severe and extreme anxiety and include respondents with annual household incomes below $40,000, single parents, women, people with a functional limitation, and people without post-secondary education.  

“This financial anxiety index developed for Centraide is the first one to examine the close links between financial anxiety, financial literacy, and the overall mental health of Quebecers and the socio-economic factors that affect them. Inflation does not affect everyone equally, and our findings on this point could not be clearer,” added Christian Bourque, Executive Vice-President, Montreal Office, Leger. 

Given these results, Centraide once again wants to stress the essential role of community agencies in supporting people who are experiencing financial anxiety in different ways and different areas of their lives, such as mental health (listening, assistance and referral services), financial literacy (workshops on budgeting, spending habits, debt, credit), housing (advocacy and support), and food security (food donations, collective gardens, group purchases, community grocery stores, collective kitchens). 

Centraide’s financial anxiety index is calculated based on three main variables: financial and family situation, financial literacy, and concern about different financial issues (food and housing expenses, debt repayments, etc.). It will be measured twice a year over the next three years. 

The index is based on a survey conducted online using the LEO platform between August 25 and September 20, 2022 with a sample of 2,001 Quebecers aged 18 and over. Note that the maximum margin of error for a sample of the same size would be +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20. 

To read about the full study, click here (available in French only). 

About Centraide of Greater Montreal  

A true agent of change, Centraide of Greater Montreal takes action in the territories of Laval, Montreal and the South Shore. It regularly supports a network of 350 agencies and collective projects every year. Centraide is supported by businesses and organizations as well as the general public. It invests the money it raises through a needs analysis done in each of the territory’s neighbourhoods and communities. It implements strategies and actions to break the cycle of poverty and social exclusion to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people. Over 800,000 people are helped each year by the agencies supported by Centraide of Greater Montreal. For more information: centraide-mtl.org 

About Leger 

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in eight Canadian and US offices. Leger has been working with prestigious clients since 1986. For more information: leger360.com.