Canadians' sense of well-being? Depends on who you ask
A couple of week ago, we talked about the Misery Index, a measure of how Americans feel about their bleak economic prospects.
Now, however, Canadians have their own index and it's much broader than the U.S. version -- but not really any less gloomy.
The measure is based on 64 indicators from eight separate areas: living standards, community vitality, democratic engagement, education, healthy populations, environment, time use, leisure and culture.
Overall, the index suggests the quality of life in Canada has actually decreased since 1994, the starting point for the new measure which is based out of the University of Waterloo.
Of course, the index's breadth means it actually lags a bit and really doesn't capture the full impact of the 2008 recession and the subsequent uneven recovery.
Echoing today's Occupy Wall Street protesters, the report also suggests the top 20 per cent of Canadians enjoyed rising incomes and wealth during the boom years, leaving the bottom 20 per cent even further behind.
Part of the reason is that housing prices have increased so much, beyond what rising incomes can cover.
On the plus side though, crime rates are dropping, high-school graduation rates are increasing and life expectancy is climbing.
While the protest movement's end game may be unclear, that sense of disparity does reinforce the group's key point: economic growth doesn't necessarily translate into a corresponding improvement in overall quality of life.
When you look at the numbers, do they reflect your reality? Have you seen your quality of life slide over the past several years? Or are you one of the lucky/hardworking ones?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: SP | Oct 21, 2021 4:34:16 AM
Do the numbers reflect my reality? Sadly this 'improved quality of life' has passed me by as I sit on the highway commuting for hours to a job I have to work at to pay for my education which I needed to just get a job. Has my quality of life slid? Yes. Am I lucky? No, Hardworking? Yes. Furthermore a point to keep in mind is this, the damage to the Exxon Valdeze actually increased "economic growth" in America that year. Am I the only one who thinks these measures are designed to benefit those who's parents and grandparents stole the most?
Posted by: HD | Oct 21, 2021 7:14:46 AM
If you need an evaluation to determine if the standard of life in Canada has fallen in recent years then you must be assessing from somwhere outside of Canada. However, we try and hype it in to believing that it is not so. Many people go to lengths to prove that it has not fallen. But the moment we find the Americans saying that theirs has gone down we start saying," may be ours too has gone down." The opinions have nothing to do with the reality. It's all about the feel good factor.
Posted by: Rob Wentzell | Oct 21, 2021 7:49:02 AM
So we have more educated people flipping burgers for minimum wage," or less if you are a student," today than yesterday, and we can expect to live longer in poverty. Proud to be a Canadian.
Posted by: RUNADIAN | Oct 21, 2021 8:27:39 AM
When I was born, 1 average income could buy a house and look after a wife and 4 kids. No problem, just expected. Now two average incomes might get you an old or small house in a bad neighbourhood (theoretically I make 2 average incomes), but 4 kids, no freaking way. Somewhere this shiftd an no one noticed. This is just the tip of a list of what has happened for average wage earners. I also had to explain to a few older woman, that today, everyone has post secondary, and it is really good for job applications in retail. I expect this to get worse, and worse, and worse. Anyone who objects, expect to get blown off by the people who are making it (know how much a report makes on a network station?), and the rest of everyone to be so divided that nothing will get done until it gets severe, and we are not there yet. Sad really, we could do so much better, but greed has become the international virtue.
Posted by: Mia | Oct 21, 2021 10:23:23 AM
Yes, in the sixties, 1 income was enough. Are we comparing apples to apples? lets see, mom stayed home, cooked meals!! cleaned house, sewed clothes for the 4 kids. No extra car in the driveway. Just Dad drove. TV - maybe, but just one.
Cell phones, I phones, tablets etc etc etc. 3 - 4 TV's flat screen of course, 2 cars - not beaters either, big new house, pool and hot tub.
Lets admit that we are not willing to start at where are salaries are. We want what mom and dad have now, 4 bedrroom house, cars, vacations etc. Remember it took them 40 years to get there...but no we can't wait. we deserve more!!! and we deserve it right now.
Posted by: andrej | Oct 21, 2021 11:43:40 AM
Posted by: Marc R | Oct 21, 2021 11:51:47 AM
with our growing population and one that lives longer only means that our grand children or great grand children will suffer the most , i believe the only solution to that is to find renewable energy, the fighting of black gold(oil) will dimenish, n where countries saving money on not fighting can go towards finding means to stop poverty, the first class citizen (not all) should stop being so greedy and think about there fellow man. i find that in today's society in a general we are better off then back in the day's ( before the 80's) , where salaries were less but also the cost of a loaf of bread was less. How many of you of today's citizens would go back in time of our grand parents and live in there shoe's , i can on;y speak for myself , I'm sure I would'nt!
Posted by: Heather | Oct 21, 2021 11:53:59 AM
If we weren't so greedy and so superficial and everything was not so disposable we would have more. Here is a crazy idea to get ahead, don't buy new until the one you have broken and cannot be fixed. How can anyone get ahead if you are paying intrest on stuff you did not need and could not afford to buy. My kids have what then need our home is nicely furnished, but most of what we have is paid for or hand-me down. My kids earn an allowance for doing chores and buy their own luxuries and are growing to be very smart and practicle with thier money. We have had major set-backs, alot of them... wedid our boo-hooing adjusted our budget and went with out luxuries until it was paid off. The "stuff" driven mentality sickens me and in my opinion is part of the problem.
Posted by: Brian Everaert | Oct 21, 2021 2:08:48 PM
Nationalize our oil and get rid of the federal income tax, demand that you manufacture in Canada or pay huge tarriffs to bring your products to our shelves. Offer cheap fuels for any company building factories in Canada for their trucking, Its simple we have the oil we have the power, were getting shafted. 300000 barrels a day from Syncrude alone, imagine if you counted every producer in the country its ours and we need to take it back and provide for our citizens with jobs in the oil industry,stop importing phillipine workers in at cut rates we have young people who can do those jobs, Its just a crying shame. If I were in the one percent I would consider cutting back the greed, or i fear the angry citizens will do it for them! They still have a chance, but they wont.
Posted by: Tan wahab | Oct 21, 2021 2:16:29 PM
Canadian living standard has detriorated so much that one can find this country moving towards third world llevel of living standards. Main reason, unscruplous immigration from terrorism promoting countries and communist countires. By this large number of immigrants this country has not benefited rather these immigrants eat our tax payers money. Immigrants has deteriotaed the harmoney we had in Canada amoung religious groups and a sense of security as canadians. One way communist trying to robb this country and another way terrist spreading their terrorist and Islamization tactics in this country. I this our own Canadian law makers hold a lot of responsiblity for this condition. As the saying goes Be a Roamn when you are in rome. This Canadian way of being politically correct all kinds of insensible specially Uncruplous immigration laws allowing flood of immigrats to come to this country will not go too far, economically and socially. Toomuch of liberty leads to anrchism let us not for get that. If this had enjoyed any better living standard in the past that was the combined effort of all people and religion came to this country because they loved this country. Other are still reaping bebfits and like any thing this country is built by small but many units of good deeds and thoughts and one day as it is now will be completely depleted fo any this that is good in this country.
Posted by: American Canadian | Oct 21, 2021 2:19:40 PM
I moved to the USA in 1997 as I was having a diffiuct time finding a good job in Canada. I had no problem getting a great job in the USA, earning $38 an hour plus 10% bonus. Then, in 2009 I moved back to Canada and I was horrified of what I found! The same job that pays $38 an hour in the USA pays $26 here. The cost of living has scyrocketed in Canada since I left. An average person can no longer affor to buy a house in Canada. The taxes (including non-tax govenment payroll deductions are out of control. Sales taxes are intolerable. Rent and Utilities are approx 50% highter here in Canada, and if fact I believe that most things cost about $50% more here than in the USA. I know many people here in Vancouver that do ALL of their shopping in the USA, including groceries as they are not willing to pay the going rates here. Health care here is a joke, many procedures and prescriptions are no longer covered (they used to be covered back in 1997).
So to sum it up, our quality of life has dropped very significatly. I am approaching retirement, and I can't afford to retire in Canada...I will be retiring elsewhere, most likely in the USA.
Posted by: way to go... | Oct 21, 2021 3:11:27 PM
My wife and I both have only high school educations and make well over six figures. I'm glad I didn't go to university as being a skilled tradesman instead has paid off in so many ways. I've been employed for over 20 years straight with never any question of job security. My quality of life is head over heels better than my parents had while living in Canada during any decade of thier lives.
That said, it is getting to be so difficult to raise a family financially and I definately have nothing but respect for those that manage to accomplish that in todays world. All those great wages just evaporate when trying to afford a home, food,gas, childcare,etc.
I still feel extremely fortunate however and owe it all to this great country we live in. My extended family members who live in the USA are pretty envious of the quality of life and jobs we have up here.
Posted by: carl | Oct 21, 2021 3:35:54 PM
I am mildly surprised at some of the comments especially when they attribute an individuals greed as the determining factor. These people were either born with a silver spoon and/or not very observant of the changing times so let's look at it in real terms. Years ago you could get a pretty good job if you had a high school diploma, not today. If you worked hard and saved your money you actually buy a brand new car with a years wages, not today. Taxes were not as heavy as today(which depletes one's disposable income). A filling at the dentist cost $15.00 not today. For comparisons sake if you made 30,000 in 1980 you would need 60,000+ just to offset inflationary costs. I know electronics have really come down in price but most of them are designed with a short life span unlike the years gone by. Gasoline...well.. let's not even talk about that because its depressing.Well, it cost me $15.00 to go 400 kilometers, today it would costs me $60-75. In 1980 you could buy a nice little bungalow here for $16,000. That same bungalow and I mean the exact same bungalow will cost you $190,000. I could get a pop and a bag of chips for $.15, what does it cost now...oh..but wait you can't compare them they've made them smaller and much much more expensive. So I say to those who haven't been very observant, open eyes, listen intently and become aware of the trend because if we don't do something soon we will be a third world country. We have to stop this race to the bottom under the guise of global competition. We can't compete where wages are $3.00 per day in places like Honduras. But who says we have to, that's just bull, are we willing to close our eyes while the corporations battle it out competitively and everincreasingly exploit other people throughout the globe to produce devalued products. If we continue down this route everybody loses, as you decrease disposal incomes you decrease economic activity and the spiral will continue downward until it explodes. We are headed to another war globally physically because the world corporations are in a global war for profits for the betterment of the CEO's and the like. The corporate format was designed so that capital could be amassed to undertake projects tha noone could do on their own "for the betterment of society"( actually written this way). So why are we being brainwashed that we need to do what we're doing....... if it continues these same corporation and corporate formet will destroy society as we know it. I ask you this pointedly...do you suppose we were put on this earth to regress back to the law of the jungle or are we suppose to make this a better world for all???????
Posted by: angie ann | Oct 21, 2021 3:41:56 PM
To Mia,you just pin it down!the reality is a me,me,me,generation and want it now......and also as we Canadian,we should start looking into are own backyard to help us Canadian to keep our jobs!!The level of the minimum wage, should equal to the economie,so many from other countries get in Canada and are willing to work for already a low pay, to a lower paying then reality, that is is gonna cost us all so much for future generation,never mind as a tax payer for over 30 years, i don't use medical system and by the time i am into my retirement i will have to dishe out of my own pocket to pay for my care,wich now, so many from other countries abuse our system over and over and bring all their sick sibling to get care for....Don't get me wrong, i am not a racial and i DO handout as much as i can to help others,and i am not a greedy descent believe me,but have young children that i nourrish as much love into them,so for them to be able to give others the best without asking in return or not to say you owe me!!!have faith in all you do people,do not be so greedy,keep healthy.....body and mind......To all Canadians we have to keep our ways, without giving up what we have built for generations within our country,so many real born Canadians have die to have what we have...keep it in mind that it was for all of us CANADIAN to keep on !!!!
Posted by: Old Rocker | Oct 21, 2021 4:18:34 PM
The extra car,extra tv and assorted electronic goods in no way make up for the drop in standard of living. I am 54 and have witnessed it first hand. My mom and dad still live in the house I grew up in. So here we go-- My Dad worked driving a delivery truck and we had a house ( purchased for 11,000)- now it would sell for 450,000. Mom stayed at home,a car, a tv, my brother went to University. Try doing that anywhere today. Don't believe the numbers that government and Universities try to persuade us with. It is totall bs. When you went to University in the 60s, you were guaranteed in finding a job in your field. Not anymore. A high school diploma would get you in the Fire Dept or Works Dept, not anymore. The Universities and Colleges should be ashamed of themselves. They adverstise and act like private business luring the kids into spending money of courses to prepare them for jobs that don't exist. I see thousands of kids all spending 3500 per year to learn how to be firemen. How many firefighters were hired last year across the GTA. I am told 5 by the firefighters themselves. Humber,Durham,Seneca all offer this bogus course. Same goes for the Police Foundations etc. Universities and Colleges have committiees that are only interested in revenue and they come up with these bogus courses. These courses are just a money grab. The lower and middle class is falling further and further behind. We have exported all the good paying jobs and they will not come back untill our country realizes our society needs to manufacture the goods we use in our own back yard. The protesters should be protesting the governments not the TSX or Wall Street. Our governments have the power to do something. The guys on Wall don't give a sh****.
Posted by: Dave | Oct 21, 2021 5:22:44 PM
A lot of interesting comments. But I believe we are living better that our parent's did. We got nothing compared today for Christmas. If we got the family car [seldom] we paid our own gas. We all work weekend during high school to have pocket money. We did not live home after grade 12.[Mom encouraged it].Went to the A&W and bought a 1gallon of root beer as a family treat when we were kids. So as you will realize the kids today are living a lot better that we had lived. We are spending a lot more today on our families than what our parents did for the extras. We live in better life time then are parents and our kids will be better off that us.
Posted by: kadin | Oct 21, 2021 5:56:34 PM
As I write this little article I must note that many of my fellow citizens seem to lose site of the common picture of success. Sure, in an earlier time one wage could support a family, and yes unfortunately you are now forced to be educated to work but aside from the obvious bleak outlook of the results I must say I live well. First you must know who I am to understand what I mean . I would be one considered a impovered statistic, I work a job making little above minimum wage, I am of first nations descendancy(with no specialised help from the Gov't)and I have a beautiful daughter and wife. The notebable subject of this contexts is im doing allrigt and am getting by. No i do not own a house, and I may not have a back yard and a million pretty little objects but I have what I need and isnt that the standard in which we should all be abliged to follow when you are the working homeless and you cannot make it to and from home with out risk of being shot,stabbed,or robbed indefinately please complain about your lifestyle otherwise please look to the bright side of your situation be greatful for the people around you and remember to give willingly to those less fortunately than ourselves.
Posted by: kadin | Oct 21, 2021 6:03:53 PM
I am 21 and my daughter is two
Posted by: RUNADIAN | Oct 21, 2021 7:23:43 PM
Wake me up when the planet is destroyed. As for living better than our parents did. Well, if you cam from my family, that is pretty easy to do. As for having what mom and dad have now: wtf you want me to give stuff away? Yeesh, you must come from middle to upper income levels. What I see, is those who view themselves as succesful are tending to say everytihing is fine. I like my lifestyle, and have enough money. Many people dont. I cant back any system where someone with a full time job and barely get by. They call them the working poor, but usually mean working homesless. Also, no one mentions the commercials they show about what % of the population must choose between food and heat, or cant send their kid to play sports. Are these left wing commie propaganda? If we maintain that we should because we can attitutude with no regard for those who cant, we justify a king rat system. If power (in this case money) is the rule, then so is the guy with knife in the alley. Further, for those convinced that everyone who compllains is poor and lazy and should get an education: if everyone goes out and gets the much vaunted education some of you think will fix everything, well then you will have doctorates serving burgers, because the guy at 7-11 is as neccessary to everything as Bill Gates. I know we are not taught that, but to me it is
true. As fior comparing apples to apples, well my comparison is at least a svalid as the way people like to compare their life to everyone elses (ie if I can do it why cant you, you must be dumb or lazy or want to much). People lives are not comparable. Funny, age not only makes you opinionated, it makes you want to express your opinion. Yeesh, I'm two steps from chasing the neighbourhood kids off of my lawn. Oh, by the way, I dont want anything, and dont own much. I havent felt the "pinch" or whatever you want to call it all. I am here for philosophical reasons. I am convinced that the more prosperous a nation or person becomes, the more narrow minded they become. Not my words, someone else, but apparently very true.
Peace, and love, but only if you can afford it.
Posted by: Poor in London | Oct 21, 2021 7:30:20 PM
Consider this: My husband's union negotiated a pay raise for several hundreds of employees if the cost of living index rose above and maintained 3% any given year. That has'nt happened in over ten years, but the cost of living still continues to climb each and every year-if only marginally. Simply put: He/we all had MORE spending power ten years ago then we do now. By the way, most all are unemployed do to shortage of work in the auto sector. Ahhh, remember the good ol' days?