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Do you feel happy living in Calgary? Quality of life report suggests many do

A new report suggests that despite high inflation, volatile energy prices and a competitive housing market, Calgarians are happier than they've been in recent years.

According to the Calgary Foundation's 2023 Quality of Life report released on Tuesday, 81 per cent love living in the city.

"Overall, we're happier," the report says. "Sixty-nine per cent rate their happiness as good or excellent, up five per cent from 2022 and 2021."

The report, which has been published since 2007, found 93 per cent of Calgarians are happy in the community they live in, 87 per cent feel Calgary is a good place for young people to live and 79 per cent don't see themselves moving anytime soon.

Calgary's arts and culture industry is one of the best parts of the city, the report suggests, with a majority (70 per cent) feeling its strength helps create a vibrant city. That's up by eight per cent over last year.

However, Calgary isn't immune to the challenges that many other Canadians living in other major cities are facing.

About 25 per cent of people are struggling with affording essentials, the report says, and 21 per cent are concerned about their health, but with food prices so high, eating healthy isn't as easy as it once was.

"Thirty-six per cent of parents skip meals to ensure their kids can eat," the report states. "(While) 28 per cent of households with children can't afford to healthy food."

It also suggests a larger number of people are not eating in restaurants as much as they were (72 per cent) but families are leaning on fast food options (70 per cent) as a more affordable way to eat.

"Twenty-nine per cent of families sometimes skip meals."

Taylor Barrie, vice-president of communications with the Calgary Foundation says there has been an increase in the difficulty of people affording the basics.

"Calgarians have told us they are financially stressed and their mental health is suffering. So, we’re watching the numbers tick up year over year for people who can’t afford their mortgage are struggling to make rent and this year the focus is really on those that can’t afford healthy food and even food for their children."

Officials with the Calgary Food Bank say they've been dealing with increased demand for some time and it's not just in Calgary.

"Food Banks across the country are seeing increased demand but in Calgary specifically we’ve seen increased inter-provincial migration so we have a lot more folks coming from other areas of the country, obviously increased immigration and in particular Ukrainian evacuees, so those all contribute to the need here in addition to the everyday things Calgarians and Albertans are facing with food prices and mortgage rates and interest rates and all those other compounding factors," said Melissa From, CEO of the Calgary Food Bank.

Stress is also up, the report indicates, with 59 per cent of young people between 18 and 24 years old suffering from high levels of anxiety, up from 38 per cent in 2022.

Just 41 per cent of those people rated their mental health as good or excellent.

Public safety is also a huge issue for Calgarians, with 80 per cent feeling less safe, compared to 73 per cent in 2022 and 65 per cent in 2021.

"Eighty-eight per cent of racialized Calgarians feel uncomfortable or out-of-place because of their religion, ethnicity, skin colour, culture, language, accent, gender or sexual orientation, up from 75 per cent in 2022."

However, despite those challenges, the report says Calgarians are still doing whatever they can to help others in need.

"Seventy-five per cent have donated at least once in the past year. Fifty-eight per cent volunteer at least once a year."

The 2023 report is based on a survey of 1,000 Calgarians, who were randomly selected based on demographics.

For comparative purposes, a probability sample of 1,000 results in a margin of error of +/- 3.10 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

(With files from Teri Fikowski) Top Stories

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