Canadians rank among the happiest people in the world. But it turns out Quebeckers are happier than the rest of us, according to a report released Tuesday by the Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards, based on an analysis of satisfaction levels reported to Statistics Canada.
“According to this measure, there’s almost no happier, country-sized place in the world than Quebec,” noted Christopher Barrington-Leigh, a McGill University economist who’s studied the phenomenon of rising satisfaction levels in Quebec.
In a recent paper that traced changing attitudes back to the mid-1980s, Prof. Barrington-Leigh concluded that the shift is largely societal and cultural as Quebec has steadily become less like the rest of Canada. There’s less income inequality, less religion and much stronger family and social supports than elsewhere in the country – the result of higher public spending. And as tensions over language and sovereignty have generally eased, Quebeckers have become “more secure about their identity within Quebec and Canada,” Prof. Barrington-Leigh said in an interview.
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