A Statistics Canada survey on life satisfaction reveals significant geographical differences in Canadians’ well-being.
For their Canadian Community Health Survey and General Social Survey, Statistics Canada compiled 340,000 responses between 2009 and 2013 to this question: “using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 means ‘very dissatisfied’ and 10 means ‘very satisfied’, how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?” The national average is just below 8.
Significant geographical differences
The survey looked at the differences between Canadian CMAs (Census Metropolitan Areas). It was found that Canadians feel the best in Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Québec, Sherbrooke, Ottawa-Gatineau, St. John’s, Greater Sudbury, Saint-Jean, Thunder Bay, Moncton and Saskatoon, with these CMAs having obtained results above the national average.
On the other hand, Vancouver, Toronto and Windsor all have a lower rate of satisfaction. The same differences were found on opposite ends of the scale: in Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, St. John’s, Saint John and Saguenay, the percentage of people declaring a degree of satisfaction higher than 9 hovers between 42% and 45%, while it drops for Vancouver, Toronto, Barrie and Edmonton (between 34% and 35%).
According to the authors, the results “appear to suggest that life satisfaction is higher in smaller communities”. This would suggest that community life is what matters to people. More surprising is that these differences remain almost unchanged once the socioeconomic factors, such as age, immigration status, employment status, household income and health status are taken into consideration.