An online questionnaire from Statistics Canada finds the majority of Canadian seniors worry about their health, while younger Canadians fear the socio-economic effects of COVID-19, including civil unrest.
The survey – which received 200,000 responses between April 3 and April 9 – found almost six of 10 seniors “very or extremely concerned about their own health” compared with 23 per cent among those aged 15 to 24 and 28 per cent among those aged 25 to 34. Men and women reported similiar results.
Seniors, especially those 75 and older, expressed concerns about maintaining social ties. “According to census data, one-third of seniors in this age group live alone, and may therefore be more at risk of social isolation,” it reads. “Because seniors are more likely to have a limited social network, lone seniors may be more at risk in the context of the pandemic.”
The socio-economic effects of the pandemic weigh heavily on younger Canadians. This demographic concerns itself with what the report called “social stressors” including family stress from confinement or the possibility of civil unrest. “Previous research has shown that younger people have a higher degree of social interactions, but a lower level of trust in their neighbours and strangers,” it reads.
Canadians aged 15 to 24 were also more likely to be very or extremely worried about the possibility of civil disorder, with 43 per cent expressing this concern, compared to 24 per cent among respondents aged 75 and older.
Younger Canadians were also more likely than older ones to report that the current crisis would have an impact on their job or finances, findings that echo a recent report from the Labour Force Survey. It found young workers were the most impacted by job losses in the aftermath of the crisis. Almost half of respondents aged 15 to 24 said that the COVID-19 pandemic would have a “moderate” or “major” impact on their ability to meet their financial obligations, compared to 34 per cent of all respondents.
Youth were also more likely than their older contemporaries to think that they would be losing their job or self-employment income as a result of the pandemic, with 43 per cent, compared to 28 of all respondents, expressing that concern.