Happiness is dropping worldwide, but not in Canada
Canadians are among the happiest people in the world, with Australians close behind, according to a new poll that surveyed people in 28 countries. The global trend, however, is that fewer people around the world are saying they’re happy.
The marketing research firm Ipsos found that 86% of Canadian adults described themselves as being either “very” happy or “rather” happy. Australians shared first place, at 86%. Those from Great Britain and mainland China were right behind, with 83% saying that they were very or rather happy—though only 13% of those in China said they were very happy. By contrast, Canadians led among those who reported being very happy, at 29%, closely followed by Australia, India, and Saudi Arabia at 28%, and Great Britain and the United States at 27%.
Globally, however, only two-thirds of adults, 64%, consider themselves happy, down from 70% in 2018; in 2011, the year Ipsos began tracking happiness levels, that number was 77%. Despite that decline, Canadians saw their happiness increase: between 2018 and 2019, happiness in Canada rose by five points. At the same time, the US happiness ranking dropped three points. The countries with the most people reporting that they are “not happy at all” were Argentina (19%), Turkey (14%), and Japan (11%).
Asked where they thought their happiness stemmed from, respondents most commonly cited good health and physical well-being (55%). Children and romantic relationships tied at 48%, followed by a sense of living a meaningful life (47%) and a sense of security and safety (45%).
In Canada, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, and the United States, so many respondents cited “feeling in control of my life” as a source of happiness that it ranked in the top three in each country. Overall, of the 29 possible sources of happiness proposed in the survey, the three lowest-ranking were material possessions (21%), moving to another country (17%), and time spent on social media (11%). Social media also scored highest for things that don’t “or couldn’t make me happy.”