Many people in Abbotsford-Mission are very happy with their lives – while a significant percentage are quite the opposite.
According to a new Statistics Canada report released this week, two-thirds of residents rated their “life satisfaction” as an eight, nine or 10 in surveys conducted between 2009 and 2013, according to the government statistics agency.
Adjusted for individual characteristics like employment, income, age and sex, Abbotsford-Mission had the highest proportion of extremely satisfied residents of any census metropolitan area (CMA) west of Thunder Bay, with four in 10 ranking their lives a nine or a 10.
Despite those happy campers, the area’s average score of 7.9 ranked in the bottom third of CMAs, in large part because Abbotsford-Mission had one of the country’s highest proportion of dissatisfied residents.
Around 17 per cent of survey respondents rated their satisfaction no higher than a six, a figure that was among the highest in the country. When demographics were accounted for, though, the number improved significantly. The authors of the report, called How’s Life in the City, note that men, immigrants and middle-age respondents all tend to rate their life satisfaction lower on surveys. Married residents also report themselves to be happier than those who are divorced, separated, widowed or never married.
On a whole, Canadians declared themselves to be happy with their lives, with around two-thirds rating their lives at least an eight out of 10, and small variance between the happiest and unhappiest cities.
On Thursday, the United Nations released its World Happiness Report, which ranked Canada the fifth-most-happiest nation on the planet.
The nation’s biggest cities lagged smaller population centres in the report. Vancouver had the country’s worst proportion of very satisfied residents, with barely one in three assigning their life a nine or 10. Coming in second-worst was Toronto. Both had average scores of 7.8.
The authors write that the results “appear to suggest that life satisfaction is higher in smaller communities, as most of the CMAs at the top of the rankings have populations under 250,000.”
The survey aggregates a series of surveys conducted between 2009 and 2013. In Abbotsford-Mission, between 1,800 and 2,000 people were surveyed, with more queried in larger cities.