Satisfaction with Life along the Rural-Urban Continuum: Key Indicators in the Halifax Region of Canada


  • Hugh Millward St. Mary's University


This paper examines how satisfaction with life (SWL) varies for residents in different zones of the rural-urban continuum, using objective and subjective indicators for 1,971 respondents in the county-sized municipality of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Data are from the STAR project, which was a combined time diary and travel survey. Respondents rated their overall feelings about life quality (global SWL) and feelings for life domains (e.g. health, finances). SWL scores were highest in the inner city (IC), moderate in the suburbs and inner commuter belt (ICB), and lowest in the outer commuter belt (OCB). These variations are partly related to the geography of socio-demographic 'control' variables, such as age, household income, and marriage status. They also relate strongly to self-rated health status (highest in the IC), and ratings of 'time stress' (lowest in the IC, highest in the commuter belt). Some inherently geographic variables also relate significantly to SWL: the most notable are 'sense of community belonging' (highest in the IC, lowest in the OCB) and 'unsafe walking after dark' (least safe in the IC, safest in the OCB). Keywords: life satisfaction, well-being, rural-urban, community, health