Corporate News

Why are Canadians so happy?

2018 Globe and Mail Happiness Report finds Canadians very happy and very satisfied

October 24, 2018

Despite a steady diet of dark news from around the world, Canadians are happy. More than that, in a recent survey commissioned by The Globe and Mail, 67 per cent of Canadians said they were very happy, and 68 per cent said they were very satisfied with their lives.

To learn about Canadians’ happiness levels, over 2,000 Canadian adults were asked questions related to overall happiness and satisfaction with the personal, family, social, work and financial aspects of their lives. The survey found the most powerful overall determinants of happiness  for Canadians were mental health and having a sense of purpose. Personal growth/improvement, one’s sex life and “the work that you do” were also significant determinants of happiness and satisfaction with life. Other findings about Canadians’ relative happiness included:

Age. Our survey found that as age increases, so too does happiness and satisfaction. Canadians aged 55 and older are happier than younger Canadians. Retired Canadians are happier than either working or unemployed Canadians. As well, older Canadians were more satisfied with their personal appearance and their overall mental health than younger ones.

Living in Quebec. Residents of Quebec were notably more satisfied with various aspects of their lives compared to residents in the rest of the country

Family life. Canadians in a relationship are happier than those who are not. Having children is also a determinant of happiness, although parents of children over the age of 18 are among the happiest. Interestingly, most parents feel they have a good relationship with their children but fewer children think they have a good relationship with their parents.

However, Canadians also reported significant dissatisfaction with their finances. While most were certain they could get by or make ends meet, only about half were very satisfied with their ability to save, afford housing or have enough disposable income to enjoy life. Forty-three percent agreed they are  falling behind financially.

“What’s clear is that incomes or finances are only one factor in determining Canadians’ happiness,” says Alex Swann, Principal of The Gandalf Group, the research consultancy that conducted the survey for the report. “The country’s relative prosperity explains the happiness of many Canadians, if not a clear majority. This study identifies the other factors that explain the high level of happiness reported by most Canadians, notably their sense of purpose and family relations while their physical health and work-life balance are things that hold them back.”


About the study

Participants for the 2018 Globe and Mail Happiness Survey were surveyed online between June 18 and 24, 2018. The survey was offered in English and French and representative of Canada’s adult population with respect to age and gender in each province and territory.