Since this is Canada Day here in the Great White North and Independence Day in the States we thought it would be a good time to compare the two countries!
Canada serves two predominant roles in modern American discourse. It is the place where Americans threaten to move when things aren't going well at home (This is, perhaps surprisingly, true of both liberals and conservatives in America), and it is also the butt of endless jokes ....., generally involving Canada being America's hat.
How great, exactly, is Canada?
1. The world thinks Canada is awesomeCanada has a great reputation internationally — the best reputation, in fact, if you look at an international survey from 2013 that asked 27,000 people across the globe what they thought about the safety, public policy, efficacy of government and other attributes of 50 different countries. Canada came out at the very top of those reputation rankings, edging out Sweden:
2. Canadians think living in Canada is awesomeThe OECD's Better Living survey asks people in 36 countries to rank, on a scale of one to 10, their general satisfaction level with life. Canadians ranked their life satisfaction, on average, at 7.6, coming in third out of all countries. Residents of Norway and Sweden were the two countries that bested Canada, whereas Americans had an average life satisfaction ranking of 7. For what it's worth, both Canada and the United States do better than the OECD average life satisfaction rating of 6.6.
3. One possible explanation: Canada is pretty safeCanadians report the lowest rate of assaults of any country in the same OECD Better Living survey.
4. Canadian health care is better tooA Canadian born now can expect to live to 81-years-old. This puts Canada more than two years ahead of the United States and one year above the OECD average.
Canadians live two years longer than Americans.
The Commonwealth Fund's recent rankings of 11 large countries heath care systems ranked the United States dead last. But Canada didn't do too much better: it netted 10th place. Canada has struggled with longer wait-times than the United States, and the Commonwealth Fund also gave the country low marks for running an inefficient system.
Canada does, however, pay significantly less than the United States for its slightly-better health care system. Our northern neighbors spend about half the amount per person that America does on health care.
5. Canadian 15-year-olds are smarter than American 15-year-oldsCanadian students average top scores in the Programme of International Student Assessment, a regular survey that tests kids' reading, math and science abilities in 44 countries. Canadian high school sophomores came in fifth internationally in the most recent PISA ranking with a score of 522, above the OECD average of 497.
6. Canadian air is less pollutedHead across the border and you'll find fewer pollutants in the air. The average large city in Canada like Toronto has a lower number of particles in the air than large American cities.
7. No, Canada can't do everything the best
canadians are worse at voting than Slovenians and Mexicans
They are, after all, just human. Canada turns out to have some of the worst voter turnout in the world, with a paltry 61 percent of registered voters who say they cast ballots in the most recent election. More people turn out to vote in Hungary, Slovenia, Mexico and pretty much any other 35 OECD countries.