Clarington scores high in ‘Happiness Index’ study – fourth ‘happiest’ community in Canada

Published May 5, 2023 at 10:08 am

Downtown Bowmanville

Happiness is a difficult quality to quantify but real estate company gave it a shot anyway and Clarington came out as the fourth happiest community in the entire country.

The top five were all in Ontario and all in the GTA, in fact, led by Caledon, which came out on top in the study, which used 30 happiness-related metrics to create a ‘Happiness Index’ that put those 30 factors into four separate dimensions: Economy & Real Estate; Location & Demographics; Health & Wellbeing; and Community & Environment.

None of Canada’s largest cities ranked high in the study and none of the happiest cities scored high in all the categories. Caledon ranked #1 but their overall score was 67 out of a possible 100 points.

The top five in the Point2 study were Caledon, Milton, Halton Hills, Clarington and Burlington.

Ajax (17) and Whitby (20) also made the top 20 list, as well as other GTA communities Oakville (7), Aurora (10), Newmarket (14) and Vaughan (15).

Overall Rank City Happiness Index Economy & Real Estate Rank Location & Demographics Rank Health & Wellbeing Rank Community & Environment Rank
1 Caledon, ON 67.41 12 11 12 11
2 Milton, ON 63.79 20 1 15 71
3 Halton Hills, ON 63.06 7 10 15 86
4 Clarington, ON 62.50 6 16 57 25
5 Burlington, ON 62.47 30 4 15 46
6 Lévis, QC 61.34 10 30 3 88
7 Oakville, ON 61.08 55 2 15 44
8 District of North Vancouver, BC 60.76 36 3 33 43
9 Saguenay, QC 60.70 24 61 20 9
10 Aurora, ON 60.57 57 6 7 39

Nearly half of Canada’s largest 100 cities are in Ontario — and much of what makes them happy is linked to Economy & Real Estate. For starters, Caledon, Oakville, Vaughan, Halton Hills and Milton enjoy fortunate median after-tax incomes of more than $107,000, well above the national median.  As well, more than 85 per cent of homes in Clarington, Halton Hills and Vaughan are owned households. Caledon, especially, could be called a homeowners’ haven with more than 89 per cent of households owned.

Yet, less pragmatic aspects are also well represented here: residents of Thunder Bay, Peterborough and Cape Breton, NS report the strongest sense of belonging to a local community, despite not ranking very high when it comes to overall happiness. Stress was found to be high in some of those towns, though, such as Peterborough and Barrie, where the stress of everyday life can eat away at residents’ happiness.

An innate feeling of safety and a lack of crime is a strong indicator of how joyful everyday life can be.  Residents of Halton Region are lucky in this aspect, as Milton, Oakville, Burlington, and Halton Hills have the lowest crime severity index on the list.

Marital bliss might not be the center of everyone’s life, but the end of a relationship can put a dent in anyone’s happiness. And data points to some cities as being more conducive to lasting romantic relationships than others. More precisely, only 7.5 per cent of Milton’s population stated that they are either divorced or separated — a much happier percentage than in Granby, QC, or Victoria, BC, where the share is double.

Sometimes, people’s happiness goes hand in hand with the environment they’re in. Often, daily occurrences like commute time or walkability can make or break someone’s experience of simply existing in a particular city. Although not ideal, commute time in the 10 happiest cities in terms of Location & Demographics falls within a reasonable 15 to 30-minute range, with Mississauga being the most walkable of the bunch.

For this study, Point2Homes considered the 100 largest Census Subdivisions (Cities) based on the most recent data from Statistics Canada’s 2021 Census.

The report uses a combination of ranking scores and weighted averages, with each metric graded on a 100-point scale, with an index of 100 representing ‘maximum happiness.’

Metrics were grouped into four happiness dimensions or categories with equal weights:

  • Economy & Real Estate: Percentage of Owner Households, Median After-Tax Household Income; Percentage of Population Spending less than 30 per cent of Income on Housing, Unemployment Rate, Poverty Rate, Gini Index (inequality index on adjusted after-tax household income);
  • Health & Wellbeing: Life Expectancy (Years), Perceived Health, Perceived Mental Health, Perceived Life Stress, Mood Disorder (depression, bipolar disorder, mania, or dysthymia), Regular Participation in Sports, Hours Worked;
  • Community & Environment: Volunteer Rate, Charity Donor Rate, Sense of Belonging to Local Community, Average Greenness, Air Quality, Temperature, Rainfall, Snowfall, Performing Arts Businesses per 10,000 residents, Spectator Sports Businesses per 10,000 residents, Heritage Institutions per 10,000 residents, and Amusement Parks & Arcades per 10,000 residents;
  • Location & Demographics: Crime Severity Index, Commute Time (minutes), Walk Score, Percentage of Divorced or Separated, Percentage of People Who Moved from Outside the City in the Last 5 Years.

With files from Alexandra Ciuntu, Point2Homes


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