Canadians Question Middle-Class Identity While Pessimism Grows, Poll Finds

Pollara's study on Canadian middle class perceptions and the decline in economic optimism for the future.

New research from Pollara Strategic Insights reveals concerning trends about Canadian perceptions about their economic futures.

The study reveals that despite the common belief that Canada's middle class is diminishing, the proportion of Canadians who personally identify as middle class has remained relatively stable in recent years. Currently, 78% of Canadians consider themselves part of the middle class, showing a 2-point increase from 2020.

Moreover, the perception of being middle class is not solely income-based, as two-thirds (67%) of Canadians associate middle class status with having an "average income". Interestingly, a significant portion of Canadians across various income brackets, including 39% of those earning under $20k annually and 92% of those earning over $150k annually, still regard themselves as middle class.

Despite the consistent self-identification as middle class, there has been a notable decline in middle class optimism in Canada. The study indicates that only 31% of respondents are optimistic about the future of Canada’s middle class, a sharp decrease from 53% in 2020.

This declining optimism is further highlighted by the fact that only half (52%) of parents express confidence in their children's ability to achieve middle class or higher status through hard work, down from 79% in 2020, reflecting a significant shift in outlook within just a few years.