Skip to comments.Americans better off? Canadians say no
Posted on 07/07/2003 3:49:55 AM PDT by Lorenb420
The United Nations may no longer think Canada is the best country in the world in which to live -- but they could have a hard time convincing Canadians their nation's quality of life has taken a hit.
A new survey shows an overwhelming majority of Canadians believe their quality of life is better than that enjoyed by their southern neighbours in the United States, despite a new UN ranking that places the U.S. ahead of Canada.
The poll, conducted last month by Environics Research for the Association for Canadian Studies, found that 89 per cent think Canada maintains a better quality of life for its citizens than the U.S.
"Clearly, on the quality of life side of things, there is a wide consensus that we offer a better quality of life than the United States does," said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies.
The results should give a measure of comfort to Canadians who learned last week that the latest United Nations' human development index -- a measure of the quality of life in 175 nations around the world -- ranked Canada in eighth place.
After holding the No. 1 ranking for seven years in a row until 2001, Canada now ranks behind the U.S. and countries like Norway, Sweden, Belgium and Australia.
"We have been sold on the idea we are No. 1. ... We have invested so much energy, capital and enthusiasm into the UN rating. We have set ourselves up for a fall in a way by doing so," said Mr. Jedwab.
"It seems a bit contradictory that 89 per cent of Canadians have an absolute conviction that we have a better quality of life than the United States, and the United Nations indicator suggests it isn't so."
The Environics poll is part of a project aimed at gauging Canadian attitudes towards the U.S. on a variety of issues ranging from political viewpoints to lifestyle. It was conducted June 12-30 among 1,412 Canadians and is considered accurate to within 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Despite the strong view that Canadians enjoy a better quality of life than Americans, the survey finds a much more divided view on the question of which country provides the best opportunities for economic advancement.
When asked what nation provided the best chance to "get ahead," 46 per cent of those polled said Canada and 46 per cent said the United States.
The difference in attitudes about Canada's quality of life versus its economic opportunity show its citizens value non-economic benefits of living in the country, Mr. Jedwab said.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center also found that Canadians gave their lifestyle a higher rating than residents of any other nation.
"There is an image and a mythology that the United States is a land of opportunity ... but it seems clear that Canadians are not measuring the quality of life that Canada offers by economic standards alone," Mr. Jedwab said.
The survey also reveals that Canadians with higher incomes hold a more favourable opinion towards U.S., while the poorest citizens believe Canada holds the better chances for success.
Among Canadians who earn $80,000 or more, 58 per cent said the U.S. provided better economic opportunity, while 50 per cent of those who earned between $20,000 and $30,000 believed Canada was the best place to advance.
"It is ironic from the standpoint that the people who succeed best here -- both economically and educationally -- think the opportunities are better across the border. And the people who seem to succeed least here think the opportunities are better here than they would be across the border," said Mr. Jedwab. "That may be connected in some way to the whole brain drain phenomenon. It suggests that people who do better may be more attracted to the United States."
Quebecers are more likely to think Canada holds more opportunity, with 51 per cent of residents in that province believing their country has a leg up on the U.S. and 37 per cent picking America.
Atlantic Canadians favoured the U.S. over Canada by a margin of 50 per cent to 41 per cent. Ontarians also picked the U.S. over Canada, with 49 per cent saying America held more opportunity, and 44 per cent picking Canada.
Western Canadians were more evenly divided, with 48 per cent picking the U.S. and 46 per cent picking Canada.
The U.S. finds its biggest supporters among Canadian conservatives. Sixty per cent of Canadian Alliance supporters pick the U.S. as the land of opportunity, while 51 per cent of Tory supporters hold the same view.
By contrast, 53 per cent of New Democrat supporters view Canada as the better place to succeed. Among Liberals, 48 per cent of people who support the governing party picked Canada, while 44 per cent thought there was more opportunity to get ahead in the U.S.
"Traditionally, both here and in many parts of the world, the United States has developed a sort of image about itself as the land of opportunity," said Mr. Jedwab. "But I think Canadians feel our economic prospects in Canada have improved, whereas those in the United States have not in recent years, which is probably feeding some of this division over which country offers greater economic opportunity."
Therefore, I guess we can conclude that the survey was just as meaningless when Canada was #1 all those years, eh?
Propaganda always works best on the poor and ignorant...
Consider too Canadians like Peter Jennings who bemoan the American way almost every day. Detesting America enough that he has refused to become a citizen after living here over 20 years, preferring his Canadian citizenship.
Of course I doubt he would go back up to Canada just for a doctor's visit.
America cast aside the idea of royalty. We are a nation of immigrants. People come here with nothing and make something of themselves.
They even changed their name, tossing out their Old World status and titles. You don't have to follow in the family profession or join the guild. You can become who you want to be in America. America is the land of opportunity... what you do with that opportunity depends on your drive to succeed.
Economics isn't the only part of that puzzle.
Well there's one big error, right there. Poll them again in January. But don't look for them in Canada, poll them down in Florida.
What's more likely to be the reason is that people of higher income have less need for the goodies the government hands out than do people of lesser means. The lessers would have a much tougher go of it in the US.