Fri Nov 26, 1:51 PM
Yahoo! Canada News
Bigger may not be better after all.
A study conducted by the Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards has concluded what many Canadians have long believed: That Toronto is the most miserable city in the country.
Despite having the country’s largest GDP and population, the megacity ranks lowest on the happiness scale. The study used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey for 2007 and 2008 to determine the happiness of various regions of Canada and the factors which contribute to the variation.
While Toronto came in at the bottom of the list (Sherbrooke, Que., was at the top), citizens of the megacity can take comfort in the fact, on average, they remain a fairly happy bunch. Toronto scored a 4.15 out of 5 on the happiness scale while Sherbrooke scored a 4.37. This means citizens in the happiest city were only about 5.5 per cent happier than in the least contented.
The study also hinted at the reasons for Toronto’s relative unhappiness. A key finding of the study is that “the most important reason for geographical variation in happiness in Canada is differences in the sense of belonging to local communities, which is generally higher in small CMAs, rural areas, and Atlantic Canada.”
Stress was also an important determinant of happiness, something found in great abundance on Toronto subways and highways each morning. And while household income did help with happiness, the benefits it offered were scant. A 10 per cent increase in income increased the number of people “very satisfied with life” by just 0.6 per cent.
The report suggests Canada consider a new metric for measuring success, one originally championed by the tiny Buddhist nation of Bhutan and now taken up by France and the United Kingdom: Gross national happiness.
The new index would give Canadians something to feel good about while our GDP continues to stagnate.