Skip to main content

Crowds cheer at Maple Leafs Square in Toronto during a parade celebrating Canada's Olympic athletes.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Forget about record debt levels, the harsh winters or long hospital wait-times.

Canadians are a very happy bunch, and we've grown increasingly content with our lot in life over the past decade, according to a report being released Tuesday by the Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards.

The happiest Canadians are 12 to 19 years old and Quebeckers, while the least satisfied are seniors, according to the report, based on an analysis of Statistics Canada data from 2003 to 2011.

Story continues below advertisement

"Maybe it's social media. Young people are more connected because of Facebook," CSLS executive director Andrew Sharpe said.

The report found that 92.3 per cent of Canadians aged 12 or more say they're satisfied or very satisfied with their lives. That's up from an already high average satisfaction level of 91.3 per cent recorded in 2003 – a small, but "statistically significant" increase, Mr. Sharpe said.

Those numbers put Canadians among the happiest people in the world. A February 2012 Gallup poll ranked Canadians second only to the Danes on the happy meter, up from fifth place in 2007-08. Americans ranked 17th in the same survey.

Mr. Sharpe said he's not surprised by the high Canadian numbers because they're consistent with earlier surveys. But he said the demographic breakdown remains a bit of a mystery.

"We have more facts here than explanation," he acknowledged.

"Maybe our problems are trivial compared to Africans, but I wouldn't want people to become complacent."

Among the report's other key findings:

Story continues below advertisement

  • Canadian teens are the most satisfied (96.9 per cent) and seniors, the least (89.1 per cent) – a growing gap that suggests a problem for policy makers, Mr. Sharpe said.
  • The happiest Canadians are in the Yukon, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, while the least satisfied are in Manitoba, Northwest Territories, Ontario and Nunavut.
  • The largest increases in satisfaction levels between 2003 and 2011 were in Quebec and the Yukon.
  • Four of the five happiest cities are in Quebec – Quebec City, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières and Montreal.
  • Rural dwellers are generally happier than city dwellers.
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

If your comment doesn't appear immediately it has been sent to a member of our moderation team for review

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading…

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.