Snowbird Survey 2006

Fall 2006 CSANews Issue 60  |  Posted date : May 30, 2007.Back to list

The results are in!

And we must say – Canadians, or rather Canadian Snowbirds, are a true symbol of democracy and a shining example of how Canadians of all stripes and ages should exercise their right to vote in Canada’s Elections – regardless of their location on the planet!

With more than 80% of snowbirds outside of Canada during the 2006 Canadian Federal Election, only 22% said that they didn’t vote or did not have a chance to vote. 78% of the snowbird population voted!

But how were so many snowbirds able to vote while travelling?

Well, after the Canadian Snowbird Association and Elections Canada partnered together under an absentee snowbird voter initiative, 43% of snowbirds were able to vote by Special Ballot, and another 25% utilized the Advanced Polling Stations.

Internet Usage and www.snowbirds.org
Now here’s an impressive trend – 72% of snowbirds are now online. That’s up by more than 10% from our previous survey, and continues to support the 50+ market as the fastest-growing segment of online users. 30% use a laptop or notebook computer to connect.

This also happens to shed light on the fact that the usage on the CSA’s home page (www.snowbirds.org) has doubled, and that more than 30% of snowbirds are likely to make on online purchase in the future. Times are certainly changing.

Did you know?
The national average voter turnout for the 2006 Canadian Federal Election was a mere 64.9%, and the highest turnout in the last 100 years was back in 1963 where 79.2% of the population voted. The lowest was 60.5% in 2004.

Destinations
There seems to be a shift in the preferred snowbird destination. Originally, Florida was the favourite among snowbirds – understandable, given the proportion of the Canadian population that resides directly to the north – Quebec and Ontario. In recent years, the snowbird populations in Texas, Arizona and California have nearly doubled, and driving times to these destinations of 3 days or more have increased from 60% to 72%. Are Quebecers and Ontarians heading west and taking more time to arrive at their destinations?

Another telling trend is that 12% of snowbirds are now travelling by RV; 36% are taking side trips along the way; and, 13% now have a U.S.- based cellular phone service.

Health and Insurance
Snowbirds are feeling healthier and are demonstrating a greater concern for their health. Now, 59% feel very healthy or are in excellent shape – and they want to stay that way! Concerns for travel health insurance have also changed to support the healthy snowbird lifestyle. And, only 45% of travel health insurance clients have made a travel health insurance claim.

After many years and perhaps some very expensive lessons, clients of travel health insurance companies no longer view low rates as their primary travel insurance evaluation criteria. Comprehensive coverage and quality of service has jumped to the top of the list as being most important when selecting a travel insurance plan. The Medipac Travel Insurance Program, endorsed by the CSA, is the number one choice of snowbirds again and the huge gap in policies to the next largest insurer is widening.

Travel Patterns
Your trip lengths are tending to increase with 22% staying away longer and 70% remaining the same. But another interesting statistic is that 25% of you travelled to Europe in the past three years and 25% travelled in the Caribbean. We wondered whether these were the same people and will ask more specific questions next time.

The Kids
And you love to have those kids around! 90% of you have children and 65% of them visit you at your winter destination. Currently 27% of your children are over the age of 50 and the baby boomers are just entering the snowbird lifestyle years.

Our considered guess is that we will have many more friends in the years to come and property prices at snowbird destinations will remain strong indefinitely.

Thank you for your wonderful written comments and for taking the time to complete our survey. We know we have the best group of readers in the world, and you just proved it again