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Younger Canadians find belonging in shared lived experiences over place-based communities

B.C. has the highest levels for belonging to the province and Canada.
Urban Canadians find belonging in shared lived experiences, compared to rural Canadians who rely on their neighbourhood for community.

Everyone desires to feel a sense of belonging. But how they find community and support differs across generations.

Unlike Canadians over the age of 54 who rely on their neighbourhood for comfort, younger millennials and Gen Zs were nearly four times as likely to report having a sense of belonging with people who share similar life experiences or identities, according to a recently Angus Reid poll.

In fact, only two in five young Canadians stated they can rely on a neighbour to check in on them, compared to the 75 per cent of Canadians 65+.

One driving factor for exacerbating these silos has been the pandemic, the survey shows. Thirty-six per cent of Canadians said they have had fewer interactions with neighbours in recent years.

And while every age group has experienced feeling isolated these past few years, an average of 33 per cent of millennial and Gen Z Canadians reported being less social and lacking interest in speaking to people.

What makes a good community?

Affordability is a significant factor for younger Canadians.

Two in five say housing and affordability are the main factors that make a community a good place to live. And almost half of millennial and Gen Zs said that a desirable city has housing and is affordable. In contrast, older Canadians ages 55+ prioritize public safety, health and wellness.

In B.C., a sense of belonging in neighbourhoods is close to the national average, but both sense of belonging to the province and Canada are among the highest levels in the country.

But overall, attachment to one’s home province has dropped with the largest declines in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario.