Concerns of Quebecers | The economy is more stressful than health

Quebecers, forced to make decisions at both the grocery store and the car dealership, have never been so stressed…financially. According to a study, economic risks are one of the top two sources of concern for almost half of consumers, trumping health for the first time since 2011.

Posted at 5:00 am

Nathaelle Morissette

Nathaelle Morissette
The press

Almost 49% of Quebecers — a 10-point increase from last year — said economic and financial risks related to the cost of living, gas prices, interest rates and unemployment are among their top two personal concerns, according to CIRANO 2022 Risk Perception Barometer, the results of which will be announced on Tuesday. Health system risks follow with 47%. In third place are the environment and energy resources.

“We’re in the grocery business, we have to make decisions. We’re at the dealership, we really have to make decisions. In the restaurant, we jump up when we see the bill,” says David Dupuis, head of the undergraduate program in economics at the University of Sherbrooke, explaining this fear.

We will buy wine by the glass instead of the bottle. We are aware that we cannot afford everything as before.

David Dupuis, Head of the Bachelor’s Program in Economics at Université de Sherbrooke

“In the past we didn’t look at the price of the house, he also gives as an example. We looked at the monthly payment and told ourselves that the rates were low, that the monthly payment suited us, even if the price of the house seemed a little high to us. And then we wake up. The nature of the last ten years has nothing to do with economic history in the modern sense. It was really exceptional in terms of interest rates. »

Surprising result

Faced with this new reality, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, co-author of the study, believes there is some “logic” in the results obtained, which clearly suggest that the economy and finance are of greater concern to Quebecers.

However, she admits she was surprised to see the proportion of people affected increase compared to last year, when 39% of respondents said this was their top concern. And she couldn’t have predicted that finances would trump health, with its overcrowded ER, waiting lists and hospital infections.

Health has always come first. It shows that people care about everything that affects their wallets personally, they see it at the pump, they see it in the store, in all their daily activities.

Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin, co-author of the CIRANO 2022 barometer study

“The whole system worries them,” adds the, who is also a full professor at the Polytechnique Montreal and president and director general of the Interuniversity Center for Research in Analysis of Organizations (CIRANO). “It was the first time people saw things missing from the stores. These are indicators that they will personally look for. »

As the report points out, “these transfers of concerns could indicate economic and financial risks […] partly explained by a higher risk perception than in 2021 on certain issues such as rising cost of living/interest rates (85% of the population perceives high or very high risks related to this issue, 21 points more than in 2021), the price of energy (petrol) (82%, up 23 points) or access to affordable housing (78%, up 10 points) or the rise in house prices (75%, up 9 points)”.

The young and the rich

If youth rhymes with recklessness for many, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin points out that respondents under the age of 35 worry most about financial problems, which she says is a first. Quebecers with an income of $80,000 or more are also more concerned about these issues (54%) than those whose annual salary is $40,000 or less (42%).

When it comes to age, 58% of 18-34 year olds listed economic and financial risks among their top two concerns, compared to 49% of 35-54 year olds, 44% of 55-74 year olds and 42% of respondents from 75 years. According to the author, the difficulty of finding affordable housing and rising real estate prices explain why the youngest in particular are under financial pressure.

This reality even seems to be reflected in the classrooms of David Dupuis at the Université de Sherbrooke. “In the past, students would yawn when we talked about inflation. There they no longer yawn, they wonder what it eats in winter, where it comes from and how to avoid it. »

Highlights of the CIRANO Barometer 2022 study


This is the proportion of Quebecers who rank economic and financial risk among the two risk categories they are most concerned about. This share was 39% last year.


Percentage of Quebecers who rank health as one of their top two risk categories of concern.


Percentage of Quebecers who consider the environment and risks associated with energy resources to be one of their top two concerns.


This is the proportion of women who are primarily concerned about their health, compared to 42% for men.


Percentage of Quebecers who perceive rising cost of living as a very big risk, compared to 82% for energy prices.

Source: CIRANO Barometer of Risk Perceptions in Quebec 2022

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