Life Satisfaction in Canada

Resources from the Happiness Economics Research Group at McGill University

HOME MAP TRENDS RESOURCES CANADIAN SURVEYS DOWNLOAD DATA DOHC PUBLICATIONS CONTACT

(DRAFT) Canadian Database of Happiness Coefficients

Domain Category Change Effect on 0-10 Life Satisfaction Dynamics over time Confidence in effect and causality Data type Data source Country Reference Location in paper Comments
Work Employment status From unemployment to out-of-labour force -0.23 (± 0.13) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-10 🇨🇦 Shi et al, 2019 Table 4.2
Environment Air pollution Increase of 1-day SO₂ level by 10 μg m⁻³ (equivalent to 3.9 ppb) -0.02 (± 0.02) on 5-point LS Temporary effect Effect robust in cross-sectional data; includes high-resolution geographic fixed effects. Cross-sectional CCHS 2005-11 🇨🇦 Barrington-Leigh & Behzadnejad, 2017 In text, bottom of page 16 of paper
Social capital Belonging Sense of belonging to Canada +0.336 (±0.137) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5 A sense of belonging to Canada is strongly associated with general social trust
Sense of belonging to the province +0.274 (±0.114) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5
Sense of belonging to the community +0.781 (±0.110) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims but is consistent with broader literature suggesting community-level belonging is most important Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5 A sense of belonging to one’s community is strongly associated with neighbourhood trust
Trust Confidence in police +0.361 (±0.114) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5
Trust in co-workers +0.638 (±0.149) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims; Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5
Trust in neighbours +0.336 (±0.140) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims but is consistent with broader literature on community-level trust Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 5 Respondents who live in high-density census tracts and are highly mobile are less likely to trust their neighbours
Social trust (self-reported trust in "most people") +0.131 on 10-point LS Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims; statistically significant positive effect on life satisfaction and domain satisfaction in all domains Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 van der Horst & Coffé, 2012 Table 3, Column 1 Social trust measured by a binary variable where 0 is ‘‘one cannot be too careful in dealing with people’’ and 1 is ‘‘most people can be trusted’’.
Believe a lost wallet is likely to be returned if found by a stranger +0.237 (±0.098) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data precludes causal claims but is consistent with GWP findings and broader literature Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 3
Believe a lost wallet is likely to be returned if found by neighbours +0.172 (±0.088) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data; consistent with GWP findings and broader literature Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 3 Respondents who live in high-density census tracts and are highly mobile are less likely to believe a neighbour would return their wallet
Work Job satisfaction One unit change on 0-10 scale of non-financial job satisfaction +0.15 (± 0.04) Unknown Cross sectional data but findings consistent between ESC and GSS data. Causality unclear. Cross-sectional GSS17, ESC2 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Huang, 2010 Table 1, Column 2 Income effect instrumented for ESC data, adjusted in GSS data
Type of job Employment in an occupation that is below an individual’s skills or work experience (non-immigrants) -0.280 (± 0.049) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-14 🇨🇦 Hou & Frank, 2017 Table 3, Column 2 Lower income just one of the important factors for non-immigrants.
Health Physical health Satisfied with health status, at age 60 or older +0.292 (±0.059) on 10-point LS Unknown Medium. Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims, yet findings are consistent with many studies suggesting health is the strongest single predictor of late-life SWB Cross-sectional WVS 2005-07 🇨🇦 🇬🇧 🇳🇿 🇺🇸 Zelikova, 2013 Table 2, Column 7
Environment Air pollution Increase of average PM10 level by 10 μg m⁻³ (equivalent to 3.9 ppb) 0.014 on a 3-point happiness scale Unknown Medium to high; effects of air pollution significantly exogenous for single individual Cross-sectional GSS (USA) 1984-96 🇺🇸 Levinson, 2012 Results section paragraph 1
Social capital Trust Believe a lost wallet is likely to be returned if found by neighbours 0.117 (±0.088) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Medium. Cross sectional data includes regional fixed effects; generally consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional GWP 2006 🌐 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 2-a, Column 6
Believe a lost wallet is likely to be returned if found by police 0.138 (±0.094) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Medium. Cross sectional data includes regional fixed effects; generally consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional GWP 2006 🌐 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 2-b, Column 6
Believe a lost wallet is likely to be returned if found by a stranger +0.074 (±0.098) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Low. Cross sectional data includes regional fixed effects; but effect is statistically insignificant. Cross-sectional GWP 2006 🌐 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 2-c, Column 6
Work Type of job Employment in an occupation that is below an individual’s skills or work experience (immigrants) -0.055 (± 0.096) Negative effect tends to diminish with increased length of stay in Canada Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-14 🇨🇦 Hou & Frank, 2017 Table 3, Column 4 Lower income the main intermediate factor linking over-education to life satisfaction for immigrant
Social capital Friendships Seeing close friends more frequently +0.096 (±0.051) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims, but consistent with Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 4 Frequency of visits with family and especially with friends add significantly to LS above and beyond the effects of having such networks in place
Can count on friends +0.414 (±0.090) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Low. Cross sectional data with regional effects; causality unclear Cross-sectional GWP 2006 🌐 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Comes from Y/N response to question: "If you were in trouble, do you have relatives or friends you can count on to help you whenever you need them, or not?"
Immigration Being an immigrant parent (male) -0.218 (±0.133) on 5-point LS No apparent improvement over time, "years since arrival" variable is statistically insignificant Medium. Cross sectional data, effect persists with controls for personal characteristics such as ethnicity, income, etc; consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional CCHS 2002-10 🇨🇦 Burton & Phipps, 2010 Table 5, Column 4 No statistically significant effect for female immigrant children once mediating variables (language, ethnicity) are added
Friendships From 0 close friends to 3-5 close friends +0.241 (±0.017) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data; consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 1 Impact is much smaller for those who are married or living with a partner, suggesting friends and spouses provide some similar happiness benefits
Discrimination Experience religious discrimination -0.39 Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional GSS27 🇨🇦 Vang et al, 2019 Table 4, Column 2 Significant positive interaction term suggests higher religiosity mitigates the negative effect of religious discrimination
Work Commute Increase in commute (by ???) -0.18 (± 0.1176) on 10-point LS Unknown Low. Unclear units on time allocation commuting variable . Cross-sectional GSS 24 🇨🇦 Hilbrecht et al, 2014 Table 12, Column 2 Particularly strong effect for women; Significant indirect effects for time spent in physically active leisure and seriousness of traffic congestion
Social capital Immigration Being an immigrant parent (female) -0.210 (±0.106) on 5-point LS No apparent improvement over time, "years since arrival" variable is statistically insignificant Medium. Cross sectional data, effect persists with controls for personal characteristics such as ethnicity, income, etc; consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional CCHS 2002-10 🇨🇦 Burton & Phipps, 2010 Table 5, Column 3 No statistically significant effect for female immigrant children once mediating variables (language, ethnicity) are added
Finances Financial satisfaction High financial stress (self-rated) −0.864 (±0.086) Unknown Cross-sectional data, considering the possibility of an indirect effect of income through financial stress uncovers a strong effect of financial stress on life satisfaction, but an effect not clearly linked to income Cross-sectional GSS 19-24 🇨🇦 Brzozowski & Spotton, 2020 Table 2, Column 2 Measurement includes those who report 3 or higher on a 5-point stress scale and also choose "finances" as their primary source of stress
Work Work conditions Flexible work hours +0.19 (± 0.1176) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional GSS 24 🇨🇦 Hilbrecht et al, 2014 Table 12, Column 3
Social capital Friendships From 0 close relatives to 3-5 close relatives +0.526 (±0.149) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data; consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 1 Paper includes several categories of numbers of close relatives (1 or 2, 3-5, 6-10, 11-20, over 20), an increase from one category to the next is about 0.15
Health Physical health From excellent to poor physical health (self-rated) -2.19 (± 0.17) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-10 🇨🇦 Shi et al, 2019 Table 2, Column 1 Obtained from control variables
Mental health From excellent to poor mental health (self-rated) -3.13 (±0.30) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-10 🇨🇦 Shi et al, 2019 Obtained from control variables
Smoking From smoking daily to not at all +0.12 (± 0.04) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-10 🇨🇦 Shi et al, 2019 Table 2, column 1 Obtained from control variables
Nutrition From 0 to 8 portions of fruit and vegetables a day +0.16 (±0.08) Unknown Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims Cross-sectional CCHS 2009-10 🇨🇦 Shi et al, 2019 Table 2, column 2
Social capital Friendships Seeing close relatives more frequently +0.096 (±0.051) on 10-point LS Unknown Cross sectional data; consistent with broader literature Cross-sectional GSS17 🇨🇦 Helliwell & Wang, 2011 Table 3, Column 1 Frequency of visits with family add significantly to LS above and beyond the effects of having the network in place
Finances Prosocial spending Donated to charity in the past month +0.27(±0.039) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Cross-sectional data, relies on correlational analysis, supported by limited experimental data Cross-sectional and panel GWP 2006-08 🌐 Aknin et al, 2013
Work Employment status From full-time employed to part-time employed wanting more hours -0.108 (±0.016) Largely permanent Effect very robust in cross section and panels, but causality unclear Cross-sectional and panel GWP 2006-08 🇦🇺 🇨🇦 🇳🇿 🇺🇸 De Neve & Ward, 2017 Table 6.3, Column 8 "NA+ANZ" Particularly strong effect for men
Environment Weather Daily rainfall of 6mm above average -0.008 (± 0.0012) on 5-point LS Temporary effect Effect is statistically significant and robust in cross-sectional dataset, but not in panel dataset Cross-sectional and panel CCHS 2005-11, NPHS 2004-10 🇨🇦 Barrington-Leigh & Behzadnejad, 2017 Table 2, Columns 7 and 8 Women and individuals with poor health condition are more affected
Work Type of job Being in a white collar job versus a blue collar job Approx. +0.80 Unknown Effect very robust in cross-section and panels but causality unclear Cross-sectional and panel GWP 2006-08 🌐 De Neve & Ward, 2017 Approximated from job categories in Table 6.5 (?) White collar includes: managers, officials, clerical and office workers; blue collar includes construction, transportation, farming
Finances Prosocial spending Donated to charity in the past month +0.28 (±0.047) on 11-point Cantril ladder Unknown Cross-sectional data, relies on correlational analysis, supported by limited experimental data Cross-sectional and panel GWP 2006-08 🇦🇺 🇨🇦 🇳🇿 🇺🇸 Aknin et al, 2013 Region-specific coefficient using survey results from US, Canada, Australia, NZ
Work Employment status From full-time employed to part-time employed not wanting more hours +0.080 (±0.043) Largely permanent Effect very robust in cross section and panels, but causality unclear Cross-sectional and panel GWP 2006-08 🇦🇺 🇨🇦 🇳🇿 🇺🇸 De Neve & Ward, 2017 Table 6.3, Column 8 "NA+ANZ" Particularly strong effect for men
Social capital Romantic relationships Never married, age 60 or older -0.122 (±-0.078) Unknown Medium. Cross-sectional data precludes causal claims, yet consistent with broader literature as found widely Cross-sectional data WVS 2005-07 🇨🇦 🇬🇧 🇳🇿 🇺🇸 Zelikova, 2013 Table 2, Column 7
Finances Income Doubling of household income +0.16 (± 0.196) Persistent effects with elation peak High. Effect found in panels, cross-sections, and shock-related (lotteries). Panel BCS70 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 2.1 Height disputed and income measurement problematic.
Social capital Romantic relationships From partnered to separated -0.40 (±-0.14) High intial effect, then some adaptation High as found everywhere. Panel BHPS 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 5.2 Note that most find new partners and don't stay separated. Lone men suffer more.
From never married to married at 50 or older +0.20 (±-0.078) Permanent effect with high initial peak Medium: cohort study findings so causality unclear Panel BHPS 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 9.1
Health Physical health From healthy to poor physical health (self-rated) -1.080 (± 0.122) Permanent effect, with initial peak High as found everywhere, including to health shocks. Panel NCDS 1958-2009 🇬🇧 Frijters et al, 2014 Table 4, column 2
Crime Violent crime Victim of violent crime -0.396 Effect largely in first year (only statistically significant in first year) High but specific: effects are for unanticipated events that were recorded Panel HILDA 2002-12 🇦🇺 Johnston et al, 2018 Table 3 (?) Effect of -0.398 for females and -.300 for males
Work Commute From no commute to 1 hour car commute -0.012 (± 0.041) Unknown Low. Findings disputed and causality unclear. Panel BHPS 1996-2008 🇬🇧 Dickerson et al, 2014 Table 2, Column 2
Education Duration Extra year of compulsory education -0.03 (± 0.098) converted from 1-7 to 0-10 LS Persistent effects High for UK; since effect found from 1972 UK compulsory school changes. Marginal result also found in other Western countries Panel BHPS 1996-2008 🇬🇧 Clark & Jung, 2017 Page 11, paragraph 1 (based on Table 3)
Work Employment status From employment to unemployment -0.71 (±0.059) Immediate effect higher then reducing, but no adaptation Immediate effect higher then reducing, but no adaptation Panel BCS70 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 4.2
Social capital Romantic relationships From single to married/partnered +0.28 (±-0.10) Permanent effect with initial peak High. Ubiquitous finding around the world Panel BHPS 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 5.2
Health Mental health From depression to full mental health +0.71 Permanent, little evidence of a peak High as found everywhere, including large clinical trials Panel BHPS 🇬🇧 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 16.2 Based on 4-point change on a 0-12 scale
Environment Air pollution Increase of average SO₂ level by 10 μg m⁻³ (equivalent to 3.9 ppb) -0.08 Unknown High; effects driven by unanticipated changes in power plant emissions due to policy Panel GSOEP 1983-2011 🇩🇪 Luechinger, 2009 Table 4, column II (IV estimate)
Work Commute From no commute to 1 hour car commute -0.20 (± 0.098) Unknown Low. Findings disputed and causality unclear. Panel GSOEP 1985-2003 🇩🇪 Stutzer & Frey, 2008 Table 1, Column 2
Employment status From employment to unemployment -0.46 (±0.078) Immediate effect higher, then reducing, but no adaptation High. Large effects found in longitudinal cross-sections, recession-related and employment-shock related (plant closures) Panel GSEOP 🇩🇪 Flèche et al, 2019 Table 4.2
Finances Income Doubling of household income +0.5 Persistent effects with elation peak High. Effect found in panels, cross-sections, and shock-related (lotteries). Panel GSOEP 1991-2001 🇩🇪 Frijters et al, 2004 Table 2
Environment Land use Construction of wind turbine within 4km around household -0.1405 (±0.0782) Seems temporary; effect disappears after 5 years High; wind turbine construction exogenous for household in surroundings, difference-in-differences with treatment at multiple points in time Panel GSOEP 2000-2012 🇩🇪 Krekel & Zerrahn, 2017 Table 2, column 1
Increase of 1 hectare of vacant land (abandoned areas) within 1km of household -0.0395 (± 0.0002) Unknown Medium; panel data-based but no clearcut exogenous variation Panel GSOEP 2000-2012 🇩🇪 Krekel et al, 2016 Table B.2 Effects strongest for older residents
Increase of 1 hectare of greenspace within 1km of household +0.0066 (± 0.0049) Seems permanent Medium to high; panel data-based set but no clearcut exogenous variation; similar results by studies in the UK Panel GSOEP 2000-2012 🇩🇪 Krekel et al, 2016 Table B.2 Effects strongest for older residents
Health Physical health From healthy to poor physical health (self-rated) -0.96 Permanent effect, with initial peak High as found everywhere, including to health shocks. Panel GSOEP 1983-2011 🇩🇪 Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Frijters, 2004 Unclear but likely taken from Table 3. See additional comments column Based on a 3-point change in a 1-5 self-report measure of physical health
Crime Fear A doubling fear of crime Approx -0.30 Unknown Medium. Panel data-based, often replicated, but drivers of fear not exogenous Panel Nationwide representative study on victimization and crime-related issues, 2010 🇩🇪 Hanslmaier, 2013 "derived from the relative effect of fera of crime versus effect from unemployment in a log-odds setting" (note on this reference in Frijters handbook) Derived from relative effect of fear of crime versus effect from unemployment in a log-odds setting
Social capital Romantic relationships From single to married/partnered +0.1 Permanent effect with initial peak High. Ubiquitous finding around the world Panel GSOEP 1983-2011 🇩🇪 Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Frijters, 2004 Taken from Frijters and Krekel's table-- not exactly sure where this coefficient came from. Maybe Column 1: fixed effect ordered logit 0.08 in Table 3 ?
Work Employment status From employment to unemployment −.054 (±0.022) on 5-point happiness-in-life Short and long term effects High. Panel data, fixed instrumental effects Panel NPHS 1994-2007, CCHS 2009-11 🇨🇦 Latif, 2010 Table 3, Column 2 Not statistically significant for individuals aged 54 and older
From working to retired (at age 55 or older) +0.056 (± 0.047) on 5-point happiness-in-life Unknown High. Panel data, fixed instrumental effects Panel NPHS 1994-2007 🇨🇦 Latif, 2011 Table 2, Column 4 No significant effect for ages 45-54
Finances Income Increase in difference between own log income and log income of a provincial reference group +0.194 (± 0.135) Unknown Medium. Panel data, significant negative effect as found in other Canadian literature. Panel NPHS 1994-2009 🇨🇦 Latif, 2016 Table 5, Column 2 Reference group contains all individuals with a similar education level that are inside the same age bracket and residing in the same province
Social capital Romantic relationships From single to married/partnered +0.60 (±0.022) Unknown High. Panel data, fixed instrumental effects Panel NPHS 1994-2007, CCHS 2009-11 🇨🇦 Latif, 2010 Table 3, Column 2
Environment Land use Increase of 1 hectare of greenspace within 1km of household +0.0031 converted from 1-7 to 0-10 LS Seems permanent Medium to high; panel data-based set but no clearcut exogenous variation Panel BHPS 1991-2008 🇬🇧 White et al, 2013 0.0020 in Table 2, Column 5 Cited by / taken from DOHC in Frijters and Krekel...?
Health +0.24 (±-0.03) Effect lasts while treatment lasts Medium. Fixed-effect estimates consistent with small RCTs and public health campaign results, but magnitude very unclear Panel HILDA 2007, 2009 🇦🇺 Mujcic & J.Oswald, 2016 Table 2, column 1 and 2; in text near beginning of page 3

Bibliography

This project was made possible by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Arts Research Internship Award Programme at McGill University.

This is a demonstration effort and should be considered a draft. While in draft form, the URL is not publicly linked from lifesatisfaction.ca, so please do not publish it. Citations and questions should be to Chris Barrington-Leigh and Katja Lemermeyer, McGill University, September 2020--.