Young Canadians want homes and pets over marriage and kids: survey

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61% of Gen Z respondents would choose pets over children

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With the high cost of living affecting almost every aspect of Canadian life, a new report suggests younger Canadians are prioritizing homeownership and pets instead of weddings and children.

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The recent survey found 61 per cent of Canadian Gen Z respondents would choose pets over children.

“After watching boomer generations and beyond stay cemented in the same place for decades, Gen Z is keen to adopt lifestyles that allow for greater flexibility and fewer long-term commitments,” the report notes.

A Statistics Canada report from 2023 found it costs about $293,000 to raise a child from birth to age 17 for a middle-family with two kids, amounting to an average of $17,235 per year.

Meanwhile, a report from Rover found owning a dog could cost as much as $4,020 per year, though the expenses vary on the dog’s breed, age and lifestyle.

Statistia, on the other hand, estimates the average cost of owning a cat to be $2,800 per year.

Houses over weddings?

In decades past, Canadian couples could afford to have the home and wedding of their dreams, but nowadays more couples have to choose.

The survey found 73 per cent of Canadians Gen Zs see homeownership as a primary life goal, though 61 per cent of respondents are unsure if they will be able to afford it.

Meanwhile, 42 per cent of respondents believe marriage is an important life goal, while 41 per cent see it as necessary.

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“Even though achieving the dream of a house is a top goal for Gen Z over marriage, that likelihood is uncertain for many,” the report states.

“High real estate prices, particularly in urban areas and their outskirts, and an overall rise in the cost of living are common hurdles that both groups face, and are no doubt exacerbated by a general feeling of financial instability.”

Data from the Canadian Real Estate Association shows the average cost to own a home in Canada was $703,446 in April, but that figure grows to $900,161 and $1,008,497 in Ontario and British Columbia, respectively.

An average home in Canada would thus require a $45,345 down payment, while most estimates ping the average cost of a wedding at around $30,000.

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Meanwhile, other top financial goals for Canadian Gen Zs include travel, education and building an emergency fund, though accumulating those savings is difficult.

“Ambitious, altruistic and pragmatic, Gen Zers in both Canada and the U.S. face significant financial obstacles, perhaps more than any other generation,” the report states.

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