A Third of British Columbians Endure COVID-19 Financial Struggles

More than half of the province’s residents (54%) say they are spending more on groceries than they did a year ago.

Vancouver, BC [March 15, 2021] – One third of British Columbians acknowledge that the financial situation of their household has not returned to the level it had before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, 33% of British Columbians say that their household’s financial standing is worse now than prior to the pandemic.

While almost half of British Columbians (48%) report no change in their financial situation over the past year, 17% say they are better off now.

“There are specific groups of British Columbians who are more likely to have been negatively impacted by the pandemic,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “More than a third of women (36%) and practically half of residents of Northern BC (49%) say their household’s finances have suffered on account of COVID-19.”

About a third of British Columbians of European and East Asian origins (32% and 33% respectively) say their household’s financial situation has worsened because of the pandemic, along with 38% of the province’s residents of First Nation and South Asian descent.

When asked about specific things they pay for, a majority of British Columbians (54%) say their household expenditures on groceries are higher now than they were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This proportion climbs to 63% among women, British Columbians aged 55 and over and residents of the Fraser Valley.

Another area of increased spending for British Columbians is electronic entertainment, such as cable television and streaming services. While 6% of the province’s residents say they are paying less for these items than they did a year ago, almost three-in-ten (29%) are allocating more money to them.

Conversely, while 18% of British Columbians say they are spending more on transportation—such as fuel for vehicles, transit passes and taxis—more than a third (37%) say their costs are lower now than before COVID-19.

Significantly fewer residents of the province say they are spending more on four other categories than they did before the start of the pandemic: books (15%), housing (14%), board games (13%) and newspapers and magazines (9%). 

Results are based on an online survey conducted from March 1 to March 3, 2021, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and here, and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.
[e] mario.canseco@researchco.ca