Via: macleans.ca

It can be hard living next to history’s greatest cultural, military and economic superpower. But that doesn’t mean the United States is best at everything. As Canada celebrates its 146th birthday we dig into the numbers to find some of the many ways Canada is better off–from sports and sex to politics and entertainment.

Life & well-being

1. We live longer: Canadians born today will live an average of three years longer than Americans (81 years in Canada versus 78.7 south of the border). Not only that, the gap between life expectancy in the two countries is widening with each passing decade—it was less than a year in the late 1970s.

2. We’re more satisfied with our lives: According to the Better Life Index, an international quality of life comparison by the OECD each year, Canadians enjoy a higher level of life satisfaction than Americans, scoring 7.4 out of 10, versus 7.0 in the U.S.

3. Saying “Sorry” is good for you: Canadians are mocked for always apologizing, but it’s not a character flaw. Saying sorry has been found to boost happiness and strengthen relationships. Researchers at the University of Waterloo even found apologizing to a cop when pulled over for speeding can get fines reduced an average of $51. True, scientists did recently claim that refusing to apologize for your actions leads to a sense of empowerment, but such short-sighted thinking would only appeal to self-centred Americans. (Sorry, that was mean.)

4. Our kids are all right: Canada’s schools take heat from all sides, but they must be doing something right. Our 15-year-olds routinely score in the top 10 of 65 countries that participate in the OECD’s reading, math and science tests. Last time around, in 2009, we were sixth, just behind Singapore and ahead of New Zealand. American teens? A lukewarm 17th. Ouch.

There’s more: (5) We have a lower rate of suicide (11.1 per 100,000 people, versus 12 in the U.S.), (6) a lower rate of infant mortality (5.1 per 1,000 live births, versus 6.1 in the U.S.), (7) and our health care costs per person are much lower (US$4,445 per capita in Canada, versus $8,233 in the U.S.). (8) New parents who work are better off (maternity-parental leave in Canada is 50 weeks, versus just 12 unpaid weeks in the U.S.). (9) More of our marriages last: For every 1,000 population in the U.S., 3.6 marriages end in divorce annually, compared to 2.1 in Canada. (10) Poor kids are more likely to attend university or college here: By age 19 to 21 roughly 54 per cent of Canadian youth from low-income families are enrolled in post-secondary education, compared to just 30 per cent of the poorest youth in America. (11) We’re less prudish: An Angus Reid poll found 83 per cent of Canadians believe sex between an unmarried man and woman is acceptable, versus just 59 per cent of Americans.

12. We’re better educated: 48.3 per cent of Canadians have a post-secondary degree, compared to 40.3 per cent in the U.S.

13. We’re fitter: The percentage of American adults who are obese is 35.9. In Canada, it’s 24.2.

14.  We have more sex: According to a survey by condom-maker Durex, 59 per cent of Canadians say they have sex weekly, versus 53 per cent of Americans.

15. We drink less: Our alcohol consumption is 8.2 litres a year, compared to 8.7 in the U.S.

16. We’re richer: Canada’s average household net worth of $363,000 is higher than America’s, at $320,000.

17. We accept homosexuality: 80 per cent of Canadians say society should accept gays and lesbians, versus 60 per cent in the U.S.

18. More of us give to charities: Roughly 64 per cent of Canadians donate money to charities, compared to 60 per cent in the U.S.

19. We have better work-life balance: More than 11 per cent of U.S. employees regularly clock 50-hour workweeks, compared to 3.9 per cent here.

20. We brave the cold better: Our climate is colder and our population smaller, but relatively fewer of us succumb to the cold. Where Canada has 5,644 excess winter deaths (relative to average non-winter deaths), the U.S. sees 108,500.

21. We live in bigger houses: We have 2.6 rooms per person in Canada, versus 2.3 in the U.S.

 

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