Why is this measurement important?
Stress carries several negative health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications. Exposure to stress can also contribute to behaviours such as smoking, over-consumption of alcohol, and less-healthy eating habits.
In 2014, 23% of Canadians aged 15 and older (6.7 million people) reported that most days were 'quite a bit' or 'extremely stressful'.
Daily stress rates were highest in the core working ages (35 to 54), peaking at about 30% in the 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 age groups. People in these age groups are most likely to be managing multiple responsibilities with their career and family. Reported stress decreased at older ages, with seniors the least likely to find their days stressful (10% of males and 12.3% of females aged 65 or older).
An impact of high levels of daily stress was a lower rate of life satisfaction. Among those who reported their days were 'quite a bit' or 'extremely stressful', 84.1% said they were satisfied or very satisfied with life, compared with 96% of those who did not find their days very stressful.
Since 2001, urban residents have reported daily stress rates about 2 percentage points higher than those of rural residents. In 2008, 22.7% of urban dwellers, compared with 20.5% of rural dwellers found most days to be 'quite a bit' or 'extremely stressful'.
How is this measured?
Data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (administered by Statistics Canada) is used to understand residents' sense of life stress. It is based on the proportion of the population, aged 15 and over who self-reported life stress in the past 12 months.