Report shows that Vancouverites less satisfied than other Canadians
By Lauren Kelly, News Editor
The recently released Statistics Canada report on Canadian life satisfaction, “How’s Life in the City? Life Satisfaction across Census Metropolitan Areas and Economic Regions in Canada,” has found that Vancouverites have the lowest self-reported average life satisfaction out of all major Canadian metropolitan areas.
The report drew its data from 340,000 responses across the 2009–13 General Social Surveys and the 2009–12 Canadian Community Health Surveys. Although Canada has been releasing an average Canadian life satisfaction report for nearly 30 years, this year marks the first time Statistics Canada has had enough data to compare between metropolitan and economic regions, with each having at least 1,000 respondents.
Canadians had a nationwide average response of 8.0 out of 10 in response to the question “Using a scale of 0–10, where 0 means ‘Very dissatisfied’ and 10 means ‘Very satisfied,’ how do you feel about your life as a whole right now?”
Vancouverites reported an average of 7.8, with 33.6% responding with 9 or 10, also the lowest in Canada. Although Vancouver had the lowest average, the highest city, Saguenay, Quebec, is 8.2, showing a variation of just 0.4. Other BC metropolitan areas included are Victoria, Abbotsford-Mission, and Kelowna, with 7.9, 7.9, and 8.0 respectively.
The report also examined the correlation between life satisfaction and a variety of other characteristics, such as age, education, and self-reported health. The report found that life satisfaction “levels [were] lower among individuals in their 40s and early-50s than among those in younger and older age groups.”
On average, respondents with university degrees reported the lowest life satisfaction, and the highest reported “Less than high school” education. These are not as large of a difference as some others, with a .13 difference between “University degree” and “Less than high school.” According to the report, the relationship between education and life satisfaction“becomes positive and significant when health status, employment status and/or household income are removed from the model, confirming the now-established view that education affects subjective well-being through its impact on other outcomes.
The most significant indicator of life satisfaction in Canada was health; individuals who self-reported “Excellent” health reported one full point higher than “Good,” while “Good” was 1.75 points higher than “Poor.” This shows an almost three-point difference between people with “Excellent” and “Poor” health.
Going forward, Statistics Canada hopes to collect more in-depth information on major cities to compare within their neighbourhoods.