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Doomsday Prepper Statistics

46% of Canadians are prepared for a disaster.

Girl on the train with mask

From survival kits to home renovations, Canadians are busy getting themselves ready for when disaster strikes and have spent over $29.8 billion in the last year to do so, according to a survey from Finder.

Almost half of all Canadians are prepared for disaster

Approximately 46% of Canadians are in some way prepared for a catastrophe, with an estimated 13.8 million Canadian adults prepped for events like civil unrest, failure of the government, natural disasters, a pandemic and other emergencies.

Women are more likely to be prepared for a natural disaster or to have a survival kit on hand, whereas men are more likely to be prepared for civil unrest, failure of the government or epidemics/pandemics.

In the last 12 months, the average Canadian has spent $996 on disaster supplies. Men outspend women on average, with the average Canadian man spending $1,072 versus $923 for women.

Women who have made purchases in case of emergency in the last 12 months have outspent men in most categories, including insurance, home renovations, savings and means of evacuation. Men outspent women on self-defence classes, survival courses, survival kits and donations.

Generation breakdown

Baby boomers are the generation most likely to be prepared for the worst, with almost half (48%) saying they have goods on hand if something goes wrong. Boomers are followed by generation Z (47%) and generation X (46%).

While boomers may be prepping the most for disaster, they’re spending less than their younger counterparts. The average Canadian boomer spent $475 on emergency items. The biggest spenders were generation X ($1,581) closely followed by generation Z ($1,576).

Where you live may impact your need to prep

Which province you call home may have a direct impact on whether or not you choose to prep. The data suggest that Manitobans are the most likely to be preppers, with 60% of respondents saying that they have emergency items on hand. The least prepared region is Saskatchewan, with just over a quarter (26%) of residents saying they have emergency items.

The biggest spenders over the last 12 months are those from Newfoundland and Labrador, with a whopping average spend of $2,652. Those from Ontario and Alberta also spent over $1,300 in the last year.

Are we prepared for coronavirus?

It’s easy to label those who are prepared for an emergency as doomsday preppers, but Black Swan events like coronavirus make survivalists look less extreme – especially when it’s last-minute panickers who are clearing out the dry food and toilet paper aisles of supermarkets.

So how many Canadians were prepared for a potential coronavirus pandemic before the first reported case of community transmission in the country?

Our survey, conducted over the first two weeks of February 2020, found that 4% of Canadians had specifically bought items to prepare for a pandemic at some stage in the last 12 months.

The study suggests that men are twice as likely to have prepared for a pandemic, with 6% saying they’d made a purchase in the last 12 months compared to just 3% of women.

The most pandemic-prepared generation? Millennials take the cake, with 7% spending their hard-earned dollars in case of an epidemic or pandemic. Generation Z is a close second, with 6% prepared, followed by 4% of generation X. Worryingly, just 2% of baby boomers – who are one of the most at-risk generations if they catch the virus – said they’d made a recent prepper purchase, and just 1% of those from the silent generation said the same.

Geographically, Manitobans might be the most-ready to be hit by coronavirus, with 8% of survey respondents saying they’d made a recent purchase in case of an epidemic or pandemic. Nova Scotians are the second most prepared (6%), followed by Ontarians (5%).

What are pandemic preppers buying?

Medical supplies tops the list, with 73% of pandemic preppers spending in this category, closely followed by insurance (69%), survival kits (60%) and savings and donations (both 56%).

Pandemic preppers on average put the most money towards savings ($4,816), followed by a means of evacuation ($1,485), renovations ($1,137) and insurance ($887). On average, pandemic preppers say they’ve spent $212 on medical supplies and $224 on survival kits.

Methodology

This survey data is from a survey of 1,200 Canadian adults commissioned by Finder and conducted by PureProfile in February 2020.

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