Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 279–297 | Cite as

Urban–Rural Variation in Satisfaction with Life: Demographic, Health, and Geographic Predictors in Halifax, Canada

  • Hugh MillwardEmail author
  • Jamie Spinney


This paper examines how satisfaction with life (SWL) varies in four zones of the urban–rural continuum, for 1,971 residents of the county-sized municipality of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It also examines whether the predictors of SWL themselves vary by rural–urban. Data are from the STAR project, which is an innovative GPS-assisted time diary survey. ‘Global’ SWL varies significantly by urban–rural zones, being highest in the inner city (IC), and lowest in the outer commuter belt (OCB). Self-rated health is a significant bivariate correlate, as are age, whether married, household size, and household income (all of which vary significantly by U-R zones). Several geographic variables co-vary significantly with SWL, particularly community belonging (strong in IC, weak in OCB), unsafe after dark (worst in IC, best in OCB), and commuting time (least in IC, most in OCB). A regional multivariate model yielded significant predictors related to physical health, mental health, and community geography, but excluded socio-demographic variables. Separate models for each urban–rural zone showed that SWL is more predictable at the zonal level than for the region as a whole, and the predictors vary considerably by zone. Physical health is an important predictor in the inner city and suburbs, unsafe after dark is significant only in the suburbs, and travel-related variables are very important in the inner commuter belt.


Life satisfaction Quality of life Urban Suburban Rural Community 



Financial support for this research was received from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (PSO – Project-2008-4669).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographySaint Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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