How Happy are Your Neighbours? Variation in Life Satisfaction Among 1200 Canadian Neighbourhoods and Communities

45 Pages Posted: 14 May 2018

See all articles by John F. Helliwell

John F. Helliwell

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Hugh Shiplett

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Vancouver School of Economics

Christopher Barrington-Leigh

McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

This paper presents a new public-use dataset for community-level life satisfaction in Canada, based on more than 400,000 observations from the Canadian Community Health Surveys and the General Social Surveys. The country is divided into 1215 similarly sampled geographic regions, using natural, built, and administrative boundaries. A cross-validation exercise suggests that our choice of minimum sampling thresholds approximately maximizes the predictive power of our estimates. Our procedure reveals robust differences in life satisfaction between and across urban and rural communities. We then match the life satisfaction data with a range of key census variables to explore ways in which lives differ in the most and least happy communities. The data presented here are useful on their own to study community-level variation, and can also be used to provide contextual variables for multi-level modelling with individual life satisfaction data set in a community context.

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Suggested Citation

Helliwell, John F. and Shiplett, Hugh and Barrington-Leigh, Christopher, How Happy are Your Neighbours? Variation in Life Satisfaction Among 1200 Canadian Neighbourhoods and Communities (May 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24592. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3177951

John F. Helliwell (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Hugh Shiplett

University of British Columbia (UBC) - Vancouver School of Economics ( email )

997-1873 East Mall
Vancouver, V6T 1Z1
Canada

Christopher Barrington-Leigh

McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy

Charles Meredith House
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Montreal, Quebec H3A1A3
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://barrington-leigh.net/address

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