They’ve been called Generation Screwed. Born in the wake of the demographics-dominating Baby Boomers, the much-mythologized Generation X, and Gen Y (whatever that is), the Millennials—kids coming of age in this century—are supposed to be in tough.
You’ve probably heard the dispiriting prediction: This is supposed to be the first generation of Canadians who won’t do as well as their parents. Saddled with the debt of the big spenders who came before them, stuck in a “new normal” era of slower economic growth, the Millennials are often said to face bleak prospects.
But a new poll by the Ottawa-based firm Abacus Data, commissioned by the blue-chip Canadian Council of Chief Executives, has found that young Canadians just don’t believe they have it so bad. In fact, most look forward to experiencing lives equally or more prosperous and happy than their elders.
Asked how they expect to fare compared with their parents’ generation, most Canadians aged 18 to 35 surveyed by Abacus were upbeat. Less than one-quarter of them said they believe their age cohort will fail to live up to their parents’ overall level of happiness or standard of living. Nearly half, 46 per cent, expect their own generation’s standard of living to rise above that of their mothers and fathers, while about a third, 32 per cent, anticipate roughly matching their parents’ living standards.
Abacus chief executive officer David Coletto, who oversaw the poll—and is himself only 33—said the remaining roughly one-quarter of young Canadians who expect to fall short of their parents is still significant, “but nowhere near what we’ve heard about this generation being overly pessimistic.”