Oh Canada Day, eh? Embracing Generational Love for the Maple Leaf

Eddie Sheppard

Eddie Sheppard

From June 20 and 25, 2024, Abacus Data conducted a nationwide survey of 1,926 Canadians aged 18 and over to gauge their perspectives on quality of life, happiness, optimism about the future, and sources of national pride. The findings highlight significant generational variations in Canadian pride, with a majority expressing pride anchored in Canada’s natural beauty, societal safety, healthcare system, inclusivity, and cultural diversity. Despite facing economic and societal challenges, a resilient sense of well-being and optimism prevails among many Canadians.

Canadian Pride: Generational Perspectives and Motivations

Two-thirds of Canadians express pride in being Canadian, with only 11% indicating otherwise. Interestingly, there is a notable generational difference in this sentiment. Specifically, 81% of Canadians aged 60 and older state they are proud to be Canadian, whereas 49% of those aged 18-29 and 58% of those aged 30-44 share the same sentiment. These findings underscore that Canadians, overall, maintain a strong sense of national pride, albeit with variations across different age groups reflecting diverse generational perspectives.

Among those proud to be Canadian, the leading reasons include the country’s natural beauty and environment (70%), its reputation for a peaceful and safe society (61%), and the availability of universal healthcare (58%). Additionally, 53% express pride in Canadian values and inclusivity, while 45% cite Canada’s cultural diversity and multiculturalism as reasons for their pride. These findings highlight that Canadians take pride in a variety of aspects that define their nation, from its natural beauty and safe society to its values of inclusivity and multiculturalism, reinforcing a deep and multifaceted sense of national pride across the country.

Conversely, among those who do not feel proud to be Canadian, the primary reasons relate to economic struggles or lack of opportunities (55%) and disagreement with Canadian policies or politics (53%). Furthermore, 42% of respondents attribute their lack of pride to Canada’s global reputation or perception, while 39% cite negative experiences with Canadian institutions, and 37% mention perceived inequalities or injustices in Canadian society. These insights highlight the complex interplay of personal experiences and societal challenges that influence Canadians’ feelings towards national pride.

Well-being and Happiness Among Canadians

Today, half of Canadians (49%) report a positive quality of life, with only 14% indicating their quality of life is poor, despite current challenges that many are facing. Quality of life is notably higher among Canadians aged 60 and older (58%) compared to those aged 45 to 59 (43%). These findings underscore a resilient sense of well-being among Canadians.

Half of Canadians (51%) express satisfaction with their overall happiness and personal well-being today, with 17% reporting unhappiness. Happiness levels are significantly higher among those aged 60 and older (64% happy) compared to younger Canadians. Conversely, 20% of 18-29 year olds and 22% of 30-44 year olds indicate current unhappiness.

Optimism and Pessimism Across Canada

When considering their outlook on life, 42% of Canadians report feeling optimistic, while 26% hold a pessimistic view. Notably, Canadians aged 60 and older are significantly more likely to have a positive outlook (53%), whereas approximately 30% of younger Canadians express a pessimistic perspective. Furthermore, among those who believe the country is headed in the right direction, 63% have an optimistic outlook on life. In contrast, 33% of those who think the country is headed in the wrong direction report a pessimistic outlook.

The Upshot

While Canadians face various challenges and hold differing views on the current state of the country, a resilient sense of pride and optimism persists. Two-thirds of Canadians express pride in being Canadian, with older generations particularly emphasizing this sentiment. This pride is deeply rooted in the nation’s natural beauty, peaceful and safe society, universal healthcare, inclusivity, and cultural diversity, highlighting the inherent beauty and values that make Canada a cherished home for its residents.

However, economic struggles, political disagreements, and societal inequalities temper this pride, especially among younger Canadians. These issues underscore the complex realities that shape national sentiment, reflecting a mix of pride in what Canada stands for and concern over areas needing improvement, as well as the current challenges facing the country today.

Despite facing challenges related to the economy, policy disagreements, and concerns about a weakening global reputation, many Canadians continue to report a positive quality of life and express satisfaction with their happiness and well-being. Optimism about the future remains strong, particularly among those who believe the country is headed in the right direction, underscoring a resilient sense of pride in being Canadian. The nation’s natural beauty, societal safety, values of inclusivity, and cultural diversity are cherished characteristics that contribute to this enduring optimism and hope for Canada’s future.


The survey was conducted with 1,926 Canadian adults from June 20 to 25, 2024. A random sample of panelists were invited to complete the survey from a set of partner panels based on the Lucid exchange platform. These partners are typically double opt-in survey panels, blended to manage out potential skews in the data from a single source.

The margin of error for a comparable probability-based random sample of the same size is +/- 2.23%, 19 times out of 20.

The data were weighted according to census data to ensure that the sample matched Canada’s population according to age, gender, educational attainment, and region.

This survey was paid for by Abacus Data Inc.

Abacus Data follows the CRIC Public Opinion Research Standards and Disclosure Requirements that can be found here: https://canadianresearchinsightscouncil.ca/standards/


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