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International Day of Happiness

March 18, 2022, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)
A young woman holding a bunch of red balloons on a beach at sunrise.

Smile—it’s the International Day of Happiness! How happy you feel today reflects, at least in part, your life’s circumstances. Your health and connections with other people are two important considerations.

The 2020 Canadian Community Health Survey asked Canadians how they felt about their life as a whole on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means very dissatisfied and 10 means very satisfied.

The fundamental role played by health certainly stands out. Individuals reporting excellent health scored 8.9 on the life satisfaction scale, followed by those reporting very good health, at 8.3. Life satisfaction fell to 7.6 for those reporting good health and to 6.4 for those reporting fair or poor health.

Connections with people matter a great deal as well. Individuals who were married or in a common-law relationship reported higher life satisfaction (8.2) than individuals who were never married (7.9) or were separated, widowed or divorced (7.6). Similarly, life satisfaction was higher among individuals who lived with other people (8.2) than among those who lived alone (7.6).

The ties people have in their local communities also matter. Individuals who said they had a very strong or somewhat strong sense of belonging to their local community reported life satisfaction of 8.6 and 8.2, respectively. Those who said their sense of belonging was somewhat or very weak reported life satisfaction of 7.5.

In the late summer of 2021, we also asked Canadians about feelings of loneliness during the pandemic. About one in seven Canadians (13%) told us they often or always felt lonely. Average life satisfaction among these individuals, at 5.5, was substantially lower than that among people who said they rarely or never felt lonely, at 8.1.

So, on this International Day of Happiness, reach out to someone and brighten both their day and yours.

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