A new study looks at measurements of happiness in Canadian communities and finds that the old saying is true: money isn’t everything.
Researchers are increasingly using data to gauge qualitative factors like quality of life. While important aspects like affordable housing and short commutes can be easily put into numbers, the most important factor- sense of community belonging- remains somewhat more abstract.
Statistics Canada’s 2015 happiness ranking found that Toronto and Vancouver are not only Canada’s most expensive cities but also the least happiness. The new study, released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, presents a new public-use dataset for community-level life satisfaction in Canada.
It finds that while cities report less life satisfaction overall than their rural counterparts, there is a range of neighbourhood-level happiness. Indeed, some of Toronto’s central neighbourhoods report life satisfaction levels close to the country’s highest.
Of course, Canada as a country ranks very well by international standards. Looking at quality of life at a local and level and tracking changes overtime can help decision makers improve well-being and attract residents. The study finds that life satisfaction levels in Quebec have risen dramatically over the past 25 years.