Social Indicators Research

, Volume 118, Issue 2, pp 617–643 | Cite as

An Assessment of Life Satisfaction Responses on Recent Statistics Canada Surveys

  • Aneta BonikowskaEmail author
  • John F. Helliwell
  • Feng Hou
  • Grant Schellenberg


Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey (GSS) and Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) offer a valuable opportunity to examine the stability of life satisfaction responses and their correlates from year to year within a consistent analytical framework. Capitalizing on the strengths of these surveys, this paper addresses two questions. First, how much variability is observed from year to year and across surveys in the distribution of life satisfaction responses and what accounts for it? Second, how much variability is observed in the direction and magnitude of the correlation between life satisfaction and a consistent set of socioeconomic characteristics? The study shows that the mean level of life satisfaction reported varies from year to year in the GSS but remains stable in the CCHS. This pattern in variability is associated with survey content preceding the life satisfaction question. In contrast, the direction and magnitude of the relationships between life satisfaction and common socioeconomic characteristics is generally consistent between the two surveys and over time.


Life evaluations Subjective well-being Satisfaction with life Surveys Data quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aneta Bonikowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • John F. Helliwell
    • 2
    • 3
  • Feng Hou
    • 1
  • Grant Schellenberg
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Social Analysis DivisionStatistics CanadaOttawaCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Institute for Advanced ResearchTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Vancouver School of EconomicsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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