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How Happy are Your Neighbours? Variation in Life Satisfaction among 1200 Canadian Neighbourhoods and Communities

John Helliwell, Hugh Shiplett and Christopher Barrington-Leigh

No 24592, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: This paper presents a new public-use dataset for community-level life satisfaction in Canada, based on more than 400,000 observations from the Canadian Community Health Surveys and the General Social Surveys. The country is divided into 1215 similarly sampled geographic regions, using natural, built, and administrative boundaries. A cross-validation exercise suggests that our choice of minimum sampling thresholds approximately maximizes the predictive power of our estimates. Our procedure reveals robust differences in life satisfaction between and across urban and rural communities. We then match the life satisfaction data with a range of key census variables to explore ways in which lives differ in the most and least happy communities. The data presented here are useful on their own to study community-level variation, and can also be used to provide contextual variables for multi-level modelling with individual life satisfaction data set in a community context.

JEL-codes: C81 I31 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hap, nep-ltv and nep-ure
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