Covid 19 impact

This generation in Canada has felt the financial impact of COVID-19 the most

The health crisis has been economically devastating for businesses and individuals across the country, and we know that for the former group, smaller independent establishments have been hit the hardest.

But which individuals have been most financially impacted?

The virus itself is more prevalent among older people: those 40 and older represent 68 per cent of cases, those 65 and older are considered most at-risk, and more than 80 per cent of deaths nationwide have been in long-term care homes.

But, the economic effects have been the most severe for millennials and Gen Zers.

While the country experiences its second-highest unemployment rate in recorded history, Statistics Canada has found that employment is declining the fastest among young people.

"COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Canada's youth (aged 15 to 24)," a national Labour Force Survey from last month reads. "As a group, they are more likely to hold less secure jobs in hard-hit industries such as accommodation and food services."

New immigrants have also experienced higher rates of job loss, while the pandemic has also unfairly affected communities of colour.

Other similar data from around the world has reiterated that in many countries, young people are the most likely to be suffering financially right now, as they are the ones holding the lowest-paying jobs, which include entry-level positions or hustling to make ends meet in the gig economy.

The fact that wages in some Canadian cities are, on average, going up despite devastating job losses also indicates that those who make more money (i.e. older people) have been the ones able to keep working and getting paid during the pandemic.

There is also the fact that a huge chunk of Canada's millionaires are 65 or older (only 15 per cent are under 45) and the average household net worth for those over 60 is around a million dollars, as people generally accumulate more wealth as they grow older, peaking after 55.

Coupled with other factors, like student debt and the progressively more overpriced housing and rental markets in major Canadian cities (where house price growth is far outpacing income growth), it seems that the indirect effects of COVID-19 have had the biggest influence on young people.

Millennials also tend to have more issues with mental health right now, and are missing out on transformative life milestones because of the disruption that the pandemic and its economic fallout have caused.

The generation also had to face the post-2008-recession job market while just trying to get started in their careers — so hardship of this type isn't exactly anything new.

But, given that millennials have long accepted their title as "the screwed generation," this information is perhaps unsurprising — and at least they can use it as fodder for the self-deprecating humour and satirical memes that keep them going.

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto

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