ABSTRACT. This article provides an overview of the life satisfaction expressed by individuals in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and economic regions (ERs) across Canada. The analysis is based on a pooled sample of almost 340,000 Canadians aged 15 or older who responded to the General Social Survey or Canadian Community Health Survey between 2009 and 2013. Average life satisfaction scores varied by 0.44 points on an eleven-point scale across 33 CMAs and by 0.56 points across 58 ERs. Differences in the socio-economic compositions of CMAs and ERs were taken into account using a multivariate linear regression model. This reduced range of average life satisfaction only modestly – from 0.44 to 0.41 across CMAs and from 0.56 to 0.47 across ERs. The results also show that the typical difference in life satisfaction across CMAs and ERs in Canada is only one-tenth as large as the typical difference across the 150 countries covered by the Gallup World Poll. pp. 34–49
JEL codes: J28; H75; I18

Keywords: life satisfaction; urban center; economic region; Canada

How to cite: Lu, Chaohui, Grant Schellenberg, Feng Hou, and John F. Helliwell (2016), “How’s Life in the City? Life Satisfaction across Urban Centers and Economic Regions in Canada,” Psychosociological Issues in Human Resource Management 4(2): 34–49.

Received 29 January 2016 • Received in revised form 18 April 2016
Accepted 19 April 2016 • Available online 15 May 2016


Social Analysis and Modelling Division,
Statistics Canada
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Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
and Vancouver School of Economics,
University of British Columbia

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