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The well-being of adolescents in northern Canada

TitleThe well-being of adolescents in northern Canada
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsBurton, P., Daley A., and Phipps S.
JournalChild Indicators Research
Pages717 - 745
Date PublishedSeptember
Keywordsaboriginal, adolescents, northern canada, well-being

The Territorial North (i.e. Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut) is markedly different from the rest of Canada; yet there is little statistically reliable information about adolescent well-being in the region. The objective of this paper is to create a portrait of adolescent well-being in the Territorial North relative to Southern Canada. We do so using the Canadian Community Health Survey, a nationally representative dataset. We examine seven domains of well-being with 23 indicators by region and Aboriginal identity for youth aged 12 to 17. We include objective and subjective measures, reflecting the importance of adolescents' perspectives in studies of their own well-being. We find negligible differences among the non-Aboriginal population; while most indicators are substantially worse for Aboriginal youth, especially in Northern Canada (e.g. income, poverty, household education, family structure, crowding, food insecurity, exposure to second-hand smoke, school enrolment, smoking, sexual activity, obesity and overweight, oral and mental health). However, there are exceptions (e.g. physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, stress, body image, belonging). Nevertheless, Aboriginal youth in the North are generally less satisfied with life. This is not surprising since they fare worse in most well-being indicators considered in this study.