Recession fears: How Canadians and Americans compare

Graeme BruceBusiness Data Journalist
March 19, 2020, 6:11 PM UTC

Canada’s recession fears are real.

Three-quarters of Canadians believe a recession will happen in the next year, a rate even higher than in the United States.

Authorities on both sides of the border are taking drastic measures to prepare health systems for an influx of COVID-19 patients. Governments are committing billions of dollars in personal and corporate aid to slow the economic bleed as businesses large and small dramatically scale back operations or close entirely.

The result? World markets have plummeted and deep economic fears have struck North America and across the globe.

YouGov data from March shows three-quarters (75%) of Canadians believe a recession will happen inside of 12 months, a rate even higher than in the US, where 61 percent believe a downturn is coming in the next year.

Which age groups are prepared?

More than half (55%) of Canadians say they aren’t very or not at all personally prepared for a major economic recession, while 38 percent say they are prepared. Those age 35-44 say they are particularly ill-prepared at 69 percent. Those Canadians over 55 are least likely to say they’re ill-prepared at 46 percent.

A little more than a third of Canadians feel Canada as a nation is somewhat or very prepared for a downturn compared to 58 percent who say otherwise. Those 45 and up are more likely to believe the nation is ready compared to other age groups.

YouGov also tracks how Canadians feel the policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau affect the likelihood of a recession.

The rate of those who believe he is making a downturn at least somewhat more likely has waned, sitting at 39 percent, compared to 46 percent in December. Older Canadians are especially likely to feel like Trudeau’s decisions are spurring a downturn: 45 percent of those age 45-54 say so, while 44 percent of those over 55 say as much.

Looking across the Canada-US border, more than half (54%) of Canadians say President Donald Trump is making a recession at least somewhat more likely; 16 percent say he’s at least making somewhat less likely.

Methodology: Total sample size was 1,003 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between March 16 - 17, 2020.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Canadian adults (aged 18+).

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