McGill University economist Christopher Barrington-Leigh has studied happiness in Quebec, tracking it for more than two decades for a paper published in the academic journal Canadian Public Policy in 2013. The data, from 1985 – when Quebec ranked extremely low in terms of overall happiness – to 2008 revealed a significant and near-steady increase in life satisfaction.
In fact, his research suggested at the time that if Quebec were a nation unto itself, it would rank second only in international life-satisfaction rankings. While it is impossible to say definitively what makes life in Quebec so satisfying, there are several theories for correlations. Dr. Barrington-Leigh points to factors such as greater social support, including more affordable day care, than in other parts of the country, and work-life balance.