Most Canadians say they had a good 2011

The findings of the Ipsos Reid survey — conducted online between December 14 and 19 by 1,021 Canadian adults — said it was a good year, with 15 per cent saying it was “very good” and 59 per cent saying it was “somewhat good.”

For the 26 per cent that didn’t have a good year, only 6 per cent said it was “very bad” while 21 per cent chose “somewhat bad.”

Politically, 2011 highlights included the re-election of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a new majority government, and the death of NDP leader Jack Layton shortly after leading the party to its best results ever and achieving official Opposition status.

Financially, we witnessed the first yearly decline in the Toronto Stock Exchange in three years.

The year also featured a violent riot in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup.

Senior vice-president for Ipsos Reid’s public affairs division John Wright, mentioned the economy was the biggest factor in Canadians’ positive views of the year, saying “In most places across the country, people have secure jobs, they have a country that they’re very proud of, and they’ve had a good year with economic consistency in most places across the country.”

He also noted that “Over the last decade, with the advance of digital technology information streams, I can find out today what the latest news is in Kabul within about 30 seconds compared to what it’s like in downtown Toronto. There is a new relativism which is coming out of this, and I think that’s playing a really important part in how we see ourselves in the world and see ourselves personally.”

Survey respondents were asked about five different aspects of their lives — including health, happiness, social life, romantic life, and financial situation — with the majority for each category rating each aspect “good”.

Most favorable was health at 84 per cent, then happiness at 82 per cent, followed by social life at 74 per cent. Ranking lower was romantic life at 64 per cent and financial situation at 61 per cent.

In terms of what makes for a year good, it would seem money does indeed factor into the equation. Of those making $60,000 or more annually, 84 per cent said they had a good year, while that number dropped to 67 per cent for those making $30,000 to $60,000 and to 63 per cent for those making less than $30,000.

Location also seemed to factor into people’s happiness in 2011, with those on the east coast ranking the year better than those on the west. Of the Atlantic provinces, 93 per cent said they were happy with 2011, while that number dropped to 66 per cent in British Columbia. Manitoba and Saskatchewan pulled in 77 per cent, Alberta followed at 76 per cent, and Ontario and Quebec tied at 72 per cent.

Canada’s good year shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, when looking at where it ranks in the world’s happiest countries. According to the Legatum Prosperity Index Canada ranks quite high in 6th place, after Norway, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. Rounding out the top ten happiest countries is Finland, Switzerland, Netherlands and United States.

Sources: Ipsos Reid, Post Media, Legatum Prosperity Index