Living

Guess which province is the hardest place in Canada to raise a young family

The cardio-heavy payday shuffle is the norm for millions of Canadians who struggle to stay on top of their bills and expenses, but for young families the physical and emotional strain may be even greater. And according to a recent report nowhere in the nation is that more true than in the province of British Columbia.

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Payday, at least in my household, dovetails nicely with “chequing account overdraft evening” and “next-day desperate scratch ticket purchase.” As quickly as I receive compensation for my efforts (direct deposit rules), it’s gone: marched off grimly to pay down my credit cards, student loans, utilities, sizeable grocery bills (a girl’s gotta eat her feelings after all) and rent. I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but the good thing is creditors are always ready to remind me. 

The cardio-heavy payday shuffle is the norm for millions of Canadians who struggle to stay on top of their bills and expenses, but for young families the physical and emotional strain may be even greater. And according to a recent report nowhere in the nation is that more true than in the province of British Columbia. 

An article in the Vancouver Sun cites a recent report by a researcher at the University of British Columbia that found that couples with young children in B.C. have seen their standard of living significantly decrease in comparison to young families who reside in the rest of the country. 

In fact, B.C. is the only province in Canada that has seen such a decline in the household income of this age group in the past three decades. 

Paul Kershaw of UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnerships found that household incomes for couples between the ages of 25 to 34 have dropped by six percent since the late 1970s. 

And this state of affairs isn’t because people are working less. As the article notes, women have increased their financial contribution to the household by more than 40 percent since the late 70s. 

If they’re working harder than before, what’s keeping young couples on the financial ropes in B.C.? An over-the-top housing market may not be helping matters. Vancouver Sun writer Tara Carman points out that B.C. real estate prices have risen 149 percent since 1976. 

Back then, she writes, “housing costs accounted for less than three times the average household income for young couples. Today, it is seven times as much.”