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I have read several articles about Canada having a lower standard of living than the U.S. How is this measured?

A country’s standard of living is measured by dividing the country’s gross domestic product (GDP is the value of all goods and services produced in one country during the calendar year) by the population. Canada’s standard of living when compared to that of the U.S. has been steadily falling from 85.9% in 1990 to 78.3% in 1998. From 1998 to 2001 Canada’s GDP per capita, however, Canada’s standard of living fell only .9%, indicating that the gap in the standard of living between Canada and the U.S. has not widened in the last few years. The problem is that Canada fell further behind the U.S. in terms of its productivity. Productivity is defined as GDP per worker or per hours worked. During the 1998 to 2001 period, Canada’s GDP per worker fell 3.1% from 85.6% of the U.S. level in 1998 to 82.5% in 2001.

The Ottawa-based Centre for the Study of Living Standards, is the only Canadian organization that regularly tracks these trends and puts the data on its web site (www.csls.ca). The Centre has recently published a report called “Raising Canadian Living Standards: A Framework for Discussion”.