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Most Canadians are happy with their environment, says StatsCan

Two-thirds of Canadians are highly satisfied with their local natural environment, found Statistics Canada. But that number rises among older generations and those living in the countryside.
Two women hike beside an alpine river near Whistler, B.C., Aug. 1, 2021.

A majority of Canadians say they really like the local environment they live in, according to newly released data from Statistics Canada. 

The survey, which last August and September collected information from those 15 and up across the country’s 10 provinces, found two-thirds of Canadians reported high levels of satisfaction with their local environment. 

Of all the provinces, people from Prince Edward Island were found to be the most satisfied with their local environment (76 per cent), followed by Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador (75 per cent).

B.C. had the fourth-highest rate of satisfaction at 68 per cent, after Quebec.

Across Canada, 75 per cent of rural residents said they were happy with their environment compared to 65 per cent of people living in the city. 

Age also played a factor, with those over 65 tending to be happier with their natural surroundings. 

Overall, Statistics Canada found only a small difference between the share of men (67 per cent) and women (66 per cent) who were highly satisfied with the environment they lived in.

Why does being happy with your environment matter?

The positive effects of nature have been well documented in several scientific studies. In Metro Vancouver, one study last year found children's health and cognitive abilities depend on access to nature; when other research looking at the same cohort of nearly 30,000 children was published in February 2022, it found that ADHD was linked to air pollution and a lack of green space

Some Canadian doctors are turning to the outdoors for therapy, prescribing nature and national park passes to improve people's mental health.

As the national statistics agency put it, “People with high satisfaction with their local environment tend to say they have high levels of life satisfaction and mental health.” 

According to a previous survey from 2019, nine in 10 Canadian households lived within 10 minutes of a park or public green space — and of those, 85 per cent had visited a park over the previous year.

Top 10 outdoor activities people highly satisfied with their environment take part in

Everyone has their preferred outdoor activities. But on average, Canadians satisfied with the outdoors tended to coalesce around some sports, activities or pursuits more than others.

According to Statistics Canada, here are the top 10 outdoor activities Canadians highly satisfied with their environment took part in as of the summer and fall of 2021: