Canada Stole The American Dream

Courtesy of Martin comes a Macleans article from which I took the following excerpts:

While [Americans have] been out conquering the world, here in Canada we’ve been quietly working away at building better lives. While they’ve been pursuing happiness, we’ve been achieving it.

Believe it or not, we now have more wealth than Americans, even though we work shorter hours. We drink more often, but we live longer and have fewer diseases. We have more sex, more sex partners and we’re more adventurous in bed, but we have fewer teen pregnancies and fewer sexually transmitted diseases. We spend more time with family and friends, and more time exploring the world. Even in crime we come out ahead: we’re just as prone to break the law, but when we do it, we don’t get shot. Most of the time, we don’t even go to jail.

The data shows that it’s the Canadians who are living it up, while Americans toil away, working longer hours to pay their mounting bills.

The wealth numbers, in particular, are shocking. As of 2005, the median family in Canada was worth US$122,600, according to Statistics Canada, while the U.S. Federal Reserve pegged the median American family at US$93,100 in 2004.

Those figures, the most recent available, already include an adjustment for our higher prices, and thanks to the rising loonie Canadians are likely even further ahead today. We’re ahead mainly because Americans carry far more debt than we do, and it means that the median Canadian family is a full 30% wealthier than the median American family.

Here in Canada, the average amount of personal debt per person is US$23,460. In the U.S. it’s a whopping US$40,250. And all those numbers are from 2005, just before their housing market slipped into a sinkhole. If you looked at the numbers now, you’d find that Americans are even further behind, because their largest asset — their home — is worth less.

Meanwhile in Canada, not only are we wealthier, but we don’t even have to work as hard to make that wealth. In 2004, the average Canadian worker put in 35 hours of work per week, while our American counterparts put in 38. Only 30% of Canadians work 45 hours a week or more, compared to 38% of Americans. We also get — and take — much more vacation time. Employed adults in Canada get about 17 vacation days a year, and we take 16 of those days, leaving just one on the table. In the U.S., they get 14 days of vacation, but they only take 11, making them the world leader in yet another category: the working drudge.

While Americans are putting in overtime to pursue the American dream, we’re at the pub having a few pints with friends. They may have bigger cars and bigger homes, but they’re living under a mountain of debt. They look richer, but the numbers prove that they’re not. The truth is that all of that competition, all of that keeping up with the Joneses, can take its toll.

Way to go, eh?

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