Across the world, people in both advanced countries and developing nations have a dreary view of the current economy. But Canadians are bucking the trend and are among the world’s most optimistic people when it comes to the both the current state of the economy and its future prospects.
Canadians top the list when it comes to feeling that their personal economic situation is good.
According to a just-released Pew Research global survey about economic attitudes, among advanced industrialized nations surveyed only Germans, Canadians and Australians felt positive about the current state of the economy.
Germans were the most optimistic, with 75% agreeing that “the economy looked good,” while the resource-rich Commonwealth pair were the only two other countries among 14 advanced nations to have majority-positive responses, with 67% in each. By comparison, only 33% of US respondents believed the economy was performing well.
In Canada, 82% of respondents felt their personal economic situation was good, tying with Malaysia for the highest level among all nations surveyed. In both Australia and Germany, 77% of respondents felt their situation was good, while the third place was the Philippines with 76%.
Canadians also had positive outlook for the next 12 months: 29% felt the economy would improve, 47% felt it would stay the same, and 21% felt things would get worse. Among advanced economies, only in Germany (57%) and Canada (55%) did more than half of those surveyed say their country is moving in the right direction.
The survey captures a huge division between attitudes in Canada and the US. By almost every measure, people in Canada and the United States see the world they are experiencing through different lenses. Canadians are generally happier with their economic lives, although Americans are more optimistic about the future.
More than half of the Canadians, 55%, are satisfied with the way things are going in Canada today, while only 31% of the public in the US are pleased with the direction their country is taking. Over two-thirds of Canadians (67%) say their economy is good, but only a third of people in the US agree.
Canadians and the Americans also see their personal finances in different lights. Fully 82% of Canadians say they are doing well personally versus 67% of those surveyed in the US.
However, the U.S. public is more optimistic about national economic conditions: 44% think they will improve over the next 12 months, compared with 29% in Canada. And people in the US are more upbeat about their personal finances over the next year: 43% believe they will improve versus 34% in Canada.
Canadians and their U.S. cousins see more eye-to-eye on the economic future for children in their societies, but that future is not expected to be good. Only a third of the US public and about a quarter of the Canadian public think children will be better off than their parents.
Europeans were the most pessimistic among rich countries. In Poland 27% believed the economy was good, compared with only 20% did in the Czech Republic and 15% in Britain. Other states on the continent received positive responses in the single-digit range: 9% in France, 4% in Spain, 3% in Italy and 1% in Greece.
Developed Asia was not much better, with 27% of respondents in Japan being positive and just 20% in South Korea. In Israel 43% of responses were positive.
The 2013 Spring Pew Global Attitudes Survey was conducted in 39 countries in March-April.