Financial anxiety index: 2023 Report

April 18, 2023 •  By Cristina Roque
Image Communiqué Indice d'anxiété

Quebeckers’ financial anxiety on an upward trend: Food and housing top the list of their concerns 

Nearly one in five people has reported experiencing food insecurity in recent months

Montreal, April 18, 2023 — The financial anxiety index of Centraide of Greater Montreal, conducted in collaboration with Leger, has revealed an upward trend in people’s anxiety levels compared to last fall. Currently, 86% of Quebeckers say they are experiencing varying degrees of financial stress, up from 85% in November. The average score rose from 38.8 in the first round of the index to 39.1 in the latest round in April.

A higher percentage of people are also experiencing more severe forms of anxiety, as nearly half of respondents (44%) fall into the moderate to extreme categories, up from 42% a few months before.  

The financial anxiety index is measured twice a year to identify people’s concerns about their financial situation and monitor changes in these concerns over time. The index can also pinpoint the groups most affected so that these populations can get the help they need. 

“This upward trend in financial anxiety must be closely monitored,” said Claude Pinard, President and Executive Director, Centraide of Greater Montreal. “The anxiety level for some population groups is higher than the average. Housing is a growing concern. Nearly one in two Quebeckers thinks that housing costs for their households will keep rising in the coming months.”

Groups that have higher than average financial anxiety scores include newcomers, people with functional limitations, single parents, people with low incomes, racialized people, people without a high school diploma, and women.

Food still the main concern

The top financial issue for Quebeckers is still food. Nearly one in five people (22%) reported experiencing food insecurity in recent months—a higher rate than before the pandemic. 

Concern about the cost of housing now ranks second ahead of other expenses such as child care and transportation.  

“Food insecurity seems to be affecting many Quebeckers, and some groups are at an even bigger risk of shouldering this burden. For example, according to the index, nearly one in two people who spends more than half of their income on housing is also food insecure. People have to juggle essential needs, and higher housing costs mean less money for groceries,” explained Christian Bourque, Executive Vice-President, Leger. “Food insecurity affects some people more than others. Nearly half of newcomers, people with functional limitations, and single parents have experienced food insecurity in the past six months. Quebeckers have a rather pessimistic short-term outlook; given the current context, we can understand why.”

Financial anxiety affects people’s lives and particularly their mental health. The symptoms people may experience include difficulty concentrating at work or school (30%) and difficulty sleeping because of their financial situation (29%). 

The financial anxiety index examines Quebeckers’ financial and family situations, financial literacy, and concern about different financial issues (food and housing costs, debt repayments). It will be measured twice a year until 2025.  

The index is based on a survey conducted online using the LEO platform between February 17 and  
March 2, 2023 among a sample of 2,104 Quebeckers aged 18 and over. The maximum margin of error for a sample of the same size is +/-2.1%, 19 times out of 20. 

Members of the public can download the report and take an online questionnaire to measure their financial anxiety and see how it compares to that of the Quebec population at   

Acting to reduce financial anxiety 

Centraide of Greater Montreal supports community agencies that help people in vulnerable situations, including those experiencing different levels of financial anxiety. These agencies offer services in food security (food donations, collective gardens, group purchases, community grocery stores, collective kitchens), housing (advocacy, support), mental health (listening, assistance and referral services), and financial literacy (budgeting workshops, consumption habits, debt and credit assistance).

Centraide has invested an additional $1.7 million in 36 community agencies in Greater Montreal that work in the area of food security to reduce the impact of inflation on vulnerable people. This one-time assistance is on top of the $7.1 million that Centraide already allocates every year to over 100 agencies, making it the largest food-security funder in Greater Montreal after governments.

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 over 350 agencies and collective projects every year. Centraide is supported by businesses and organizations as well as the general public. It implements strategies and actions to break the cycle of poverty and social exclusion to improve the living conditions of vulnerable people. Last year, its community investment was $59.1 million, which represents over 88% of the money raised from its annual campaign. Over 800,000 people are helped each year by the agencies supported by Centraide of Greater Montreal.

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: