The 2015 Sun Life Canadian Health Index conducted by Ipsos Reid, surveying 18-to-80-year-olds across the country, found that over 90% of Canadians age 55 and over say they are happy.
How happy are Canadians overall? The study shows 85% of all Canadians are happy. This finding was consistent across the nation, as well as with global happiness levels in other developed countries.
Kevin Press, AVP, Market Insights at Sun Life Financial says, “We’re not surprised that more Canadians 55 and over are happy relative to the rest of the population. People tend to be happy early in their lives. That’s followed by a dip as the realities of adulthood set in, followed by a return to happiness later in life. Our findings support this.”
Of the study’s youngest generation, those age 18 to 24, 86% said they were happy. The percentage dropped to 81% for those age 25 to 34 and remained consistently low until the 55- to 64-year-old age category. The greatest difference in levels of happiness was between those age 45 to 54 (80%) and those age 55 to 64 (90%).
The survey also asked Canadians about the three dimensions of happiness proposed by American psychologist, Martin Seligman. The dimensions are: if we believe life gives us pleasure, if we believe live gives us fulfillment and if we think our lives have meaning. Those in both the 55-to-64 and 65-plus age groups were more likely to agree that their life has meaning, is fulfilling and gives them pleasure.
When asked if they were happy about the progress they were making in planning for retirement, Canadians over age 45 were most likely to be happy. Additionally, when asked specifically about the guaranteed income they have in retirement, 66% of retired Canadians age 55 to 64 and 65% of those age 65 and over said it made them happy.
So, what is driving Canadians’ happiness? The most significant overall factors were related to family, spouse/partner and children. The primary reasons for unhappiness included debt load, finances and the state of the economy.