Editorial: We’re not enjoying ourselves (Edmonton Journal)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It’s a simple question we hear almost every day. How are you doing?

The habitual response — “Fine” — brushes over a thousand subtleties, only a few of which have anything to do with the size of our respective bank accounts. Our lives are more than a sum of widgets, after all, or the pleasing arc of an ascending income. Yet countries have long relied on Gross Domestic Product as the measure of their people’s welfare. GDP is a useful, accessible metric, but it has limits. Just by its name alone, the Canadian Index of Well-being would seem to be a better barometer of our collective quality of life, and going by its latest assessment, we’re not doing so fine after all.

The index, compiled by researchers at the University of Waterloo, is based on 64 indicators from eight broad domains: living standards, community vitality, democratic engagement, education, healthy populations, environment, time use, and leisure and culture. Most of the indicators are based on data from Statistics Canada.

The index’s new report, titled How Are Canadians Really Doing? and released Tuesday, suggests that while the country’s economy is muddling through, on a more personal level, Canadians generally are not. It reports that quality of life in Canada deteriorated by 24 per cent between the onset of the recession in 2008 and 2010.

Read the full article online at the Edmonton Journal website.

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