It looks like the big city doesn’t sound appealing at all, and according to a study, there’s a new reason to move to the countryside. Researchers at the University of British Columbia and McGill University discovered that the happiest people in Canada live in the rural areas.
They used census reference maps and took into account 1,215 communities, showing the different levels of happiness between different communities.
In an interview with a media outlet, Ryan O’Connor, who is an urban planner and director of programs with the organization ‘880 Cities’, explains that the findings are not far from the truth:
“I wouldn’t say we were too surprised by these results. Our built environment has huge impacts on our overall health and happiness in our communities.”
Happier Canadians in Lower Density Areas
Two Canadian surveys asked 400,000 people back in 2010 if they were satisfied with their life. On a scale from 1 to 10, it seems that Canadians all over the country are quite happy. They found that the average answer was somewhere between 7.04 – 8.96.
Looking at how the answers varied, researchers matched the data with other factors: like income or education.
The communities that were least happy (20%) were very dense: 8 times the density of the happiest communities.
Researchers concluded that “life is significantly less happy in urban areas.”
It might sound a little confusing, knowing that cities allow people to connect with each other better. However, Ryan O’Connor explains that urban dwellers suffer from social isolation.
Living in the City – Housing and Commuting
Aren’t city dwellers happier because of the high income, high education, and low employment rate?
If you take into account the income spent on housing and commuting to the work, in the end, life in the city is less satisfying.
“People may need to work long hours to afford the lifestyle of being in a bigger city,” concludes O’Connor.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.