The USA vs Canada


After living in Canada (several years) and the USA (most of my prior life) people ask me, “Which is better?”  Is Canada a better country than the USA?


While defining “better” is primarily a subjective topic for most, one might wonder if there are any objective measures that might be used to sort things out.  Here is my take based on some objective data… plus some of my own subjective points of view after that.


BTW, if Canada was a U.S. state, being similar in population and liberalized government to California, it would probably be a better place to live, overall, than is California (even though objectively one could rate California as better also).  But, considering that point of view it would only be better than a few of the 50 U.S. states, which pretty much answers the question.  While Canada may be a better place to live than a state like California that doesn’t make it better than all 50 states combined (of which many provide a potentially better quality of life than either Canada or California also).


Plus, a lot of people who attempt to compare countries will focus their attention on only a few elements they feel (subjectively) are most important, such as crime rates, free medical services or who the leader is, vs. taking into account other key factors that allow people to flourish and live better lives, such as economies of scale, overall cost of living, sources of income, resource utilization, enjoyable climate, or military strength and national security.


Now days, left leaning media outlets (and their socialist propaganda), which is about all you get when it comes to news in Canada, will do just about anything to rank the USA down a few notches in order to make their viewers and listeners feel superior, and to make Canadians and other countries feel better as well; for example…


Any time you are the big kid on the block you will always have the little guys banding together to take you on, unless they need you to fight their fights for them.  That is just one of those facts of life.


In any event, let’s compare some apples to apples and see what we get…










immigrants and emigrants


Note: A greater percentage of Canadians, 3.45% vs 0.92%, have left to live abroad; perhaps seeking better paying jobs or life styles? Yet, in both cases, many more immigrate into each country for various other reasons.  From personal experience, it is quite a bit easier to move into Canada than into the USA of late.

325,174,700+ or



Note: The USA has more large cities and a lot more smaller cities, towns, etc. (see below). But none of them are “too large” or complete “rat races” like cities in some other countries tend to be. Thus, the USA has more businesses, jobs, product and price competition, etc. which attracts a lot more people from other countries (even Canadians).  The USA wins on this front, objectively and subjectively, so far as most are concerned.

36,286,400+ * or


39,250,000+ or




2016 GDP (USD)

per IMF:


Note: Part of the drop in Canada’s GDP could be due to a recent drop in $ exchange rates (i.e. purchasing power).

$18.5691 trillion (and growing).



The USA wins.

$1.5292 trillion

(and dropping).



Note: Canada’s higher average housing costs factor in to a lowering of exchange rates and possibly the result.

$2.6027 trillion.


In 2015 California’s GDP alone was larger than all but five countries.

$75.2780 trillion.

Canada’s GDP is 2.03% and the USA’s GDP is 24.67% of the world’s total GDP.


Note: Both percentages are lower than in 2008.

2015 GDP Per Cap PPP (USD):


When adjusted for Purchasing Power Parity (PPP),

(World Factbook) and/or


The US has the most technologically powerful economy in the world, with a

GDP per capita PPP of $52,704… up from $51,775 in 2014.

Only 6 U.S. states have a lower rank than Canada.


Also worth reading…


The USA wins.

As a high-tech industrial society in the trillion-dollar class, Canada resembles the US in its market-oriented economic system, pattern of production, and high living standards with a GDP per capita PPP of $42,983… up from $42,946 in 2014.


GSP (gross state product) per capita is $61,924 (and it has one of the highest costs of living in the USA as well).


Est 2015 GDP per capita PPP of $17,600.


Note: Est 2016 is $16,300, down from $17,200 in 2014; probably due to Middle East and African wars with groups like ISIS, etc., and depressions in South America.


Note: While China’s GDP rival’s that of the USA it has so many people living in poverty that at the individual level their GDP PPP is still only $14,600 as of 2016.

2015 Average or Median Income (USD) w/PPP factored in:




The USA wins.



Note: Canada’s big city high housing costs also lower their results.



Note: 2014 median household income only.


Apr 2017 Inflation Rate CPI (ex-housing):


3.5% Q4 2007.

3.7% Q1 2008.



1.6% Q4 2007.

1.4% Q1 2008.


Canada wins.



Apr 2017 Unemployment Rate:



(1983 peak 11%)


The USA wins.


(1983 peak 15%)

5.2% Dec 2016.

30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment (2007 est.)

Type of Government:


See also

types of government


Note: This may be an example of a somewhat subjective choice.

Constitutional Federal Republic.


While many of its current day representatives and judges within the USA system call themselves “democrats” they think and act more like “socialists or communists” and often attempt to convert the USA into their idealized socialist democracy.  However, thus far, and

based on the overall results within this table, the U.S. form of government, with its balance of powers, still rules the day.


The USA wins.

Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy. **



Constitutional monarchies


Canadians do NOT seem to understand exactly how their government operates, they change their government on an irregular basis (any time their parliament becomes deadlocked) and they decide to “form a new government” “by way of a non-confidence vote by a coalition of opposition parties”.



Health Care System Rank:


Note: A large factor in ranking the U.S. down is due to the cost of care (see below), the leading edge cost of advanced R&D, etc. which the USA accomplishes vs other countries.

28th of 233


“Obama No Care” did little to nothing to improve the USA’s rank… at great time, effort and expense.  We’ll see what the GOP does about it, if anything.

9th of 233


Canada wins.


See link to left for all the gory details.

It also helps that Canada’s system is highly government subsidized, except for the apparent side effects on the taxation front (see below).




Life Expectancy

in Years:


(was/were 2008)


Most improvements to life expectancy around the world can be traced back to medical care methodologies and drug research accomplished within the USA. A person suffering from HIV, cancer and many other maladies has only the scientists and doctors within the USA to thank for their extended quality of life once diagnosed.


79.3 (was 78.14)



76.9 (was 75.29)



81.6 (was 81.1)


Note: The USA employs a LOT more military personnel to fight terror, etc. thus losing a lot of ground on the male and overall front due to associated dangers/injuries. Likewise, per UN stats, a much larger population is exposed to the possibility of death from natural disasters in the USA. And the U.S. medical system is much more strained by the large influx of unhealthy, illegal immigrants than is Canada.


82.2 (was 81.16)



80.2 (was 78.65)


84.1 (was 83.81)


Canada wins.


Same as U.S.A.

Yr 2000 L.E. ranged from 83.5 in Andorra to 37.2 in Zambia.


U.S.A. was 77.1.  Canada was 79.4.  Both have improved.


The top 3 were Andorra and San Marino 81.1 plus Japan 80.7.


The bottom 3 were Zambia, Mozambique 37.5, Malawi 37.6.

Number of Cities + Towns:



Just imagine the number of businesses, employees, effort and infrastructure involved to create these cities.

Too many to count. To see them all go here…

USA cities.


307 cities exceeding 100,000 – nearly as many as all the cities in Canada –

116 cities exceeding 200,000 by 2017 and 10 exceeding

1 million.


The USA wins

by a long shot.

18 + 50 + 10 + 8 + 3 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 51 + 2 + 222 + 16 + 2 = 387


19-20 cities exceeding 200,000 by 2017 and 5 exceeding

1 million.

482 registered municipalities.


20 cities exceeding 200,000 by 2017 & 3 exceeding

1 million.


CA alone beats Canada.

Too many to even begin to count.

Largest Three Cities:



Wiki 2016


UN past data 2000 USA/1996 Canada.


Note: So far, no standardized international criteria exist for determining the boundaries of a

city and often multiple different boundary definitions are available for any given city.

New York





Los Angeles










Liberal criminal justice methodologies and corruption creates havens for drug gangs, criminals, etc. which has stimulated many to leave Chicago; not unlike Detroit and others.  Thankfully there are 49 other states one can choose to move to when socialists ruin your community in the USA…


The USA still wins

by a long shot (although land area to expand in these USA cities does limit increases).

















Los Angeles 3,976,322




San Diego





San Jose





(Jan 2008).

Greater metro areas


Tokyo, Japan



Delhi, India



Shanghai, China






City proper



South Korea



Sao Paulo, Brazil



Bombay, India



(UN 1997).


Homicide (i.e. Violent Crime) Rate:


Note: Neither the USA nor Canada are among the top 25 worst countries.  However, thanks to a larger immigration of gangs/drugs via South and Central America into the USA, it has a worse problem when it comes to the rate of drug usage (which also affects the death rate in the USA) and violent crime.

One might wonder, however; why all the negative press when it comes to such a minor % crime rate in either country?

4.88 homicides per 100,000 in 2015 (5.41 in 2008)



15,696 total 2015 homicides.


Note: Total national crime rate was 3,982 reported crimes per 100,000 residents or 4.0%.

1.68 homicides per 100,000 in 2015 (1.83 in 2008)



604 total 2015 homicides.


Note: Total national crime rate was 7,518 reported crimes per 100,000 residents or 7.5%.


Canada wins,

even if there is more overall crime due to a police force ratio that has a difficult time keeping up.

4.40 homicides per 100,000 in 2014 (5.41 in 2008)



1,697 total 2014 homicides.


2,503 total 2005 homicides.

2004 chart


Keep in mind that most murders happen in densely population areas with high drug and gang/terror rates that can slant results against populous countries.

Fed Income Taxes:


Canada & US Fed Income Tax (2005)

Ave Single 29.1%


Ave Married w/2 11.9%


The USA wins.


Note: The USA also has a much more generous Social Security/Social Insurance program.

Ave Single 31.6%


Ave Married w/2 21.5%



Sales Tax:

Some states impose a sales tax; or both sales and income tax.

45 states collect statewide sales taxes.

38 states collect local sales taxes.

The five states with the highest average combined state-local sales tax rates are Tennessee 9.45%, Arkansas 9.26%, Alabama 8.9%, Louisiana 8.91%, and Washington 8.89%.


The USA wins.

5% low to 15% high.


There is a 5% GST tax imposed by the Fed + FST + some provinces impose a sales tax.  


BC, for example, has a combined tax of 12%.


All provinces have higher tax rates than any U.S. state.

7.25% total


Property Taxes (2014):


CAD Prop Tax


USA Prop Tax




.9372 June 30, 2014 conversion rate used for CAD to USD

In the United States, property tax on real estate is usually assessed by a local government, at the municipal or county level.


$487,096 USD million collected on all property.


Population factor 317.7 million.


Ave prop tax per person was $1,533 USD.


The USA wins.

Many provinces in Canada levy property tax based upon current use and value of the land which is major source of revenue for most municipal governments.


$68,033 USD ($72,592 CAD) million collected on all property.


Population factor 35.5 million.


Ave prop tax per person was $1,916 USD.

In California, a voter initiative referred to as Proposition 13 froze a portion of the tax rate and imposed a requirement for voter approval for other components of the tax rate. Proposition 13 is responsible for maintaining property tax rates, which do not vary much from place to place within the state.  Likewise, they are only adjusted at point of sale keeping the tax burden fairly steady until a property is sold again.


2016 Fed Budget Deficit:


.7686 June 30, 2016 conversion rate used for CAD to USD

USA Deficit History

At the end of FY 2016 the federal deficit was

$585 billion USD or 3.15% GDP.

Canada Deficit History


Canadian 2016 Federal Budget


$22.6 billion USD


$29.4 billion CAD

or 1.48% GDP.


Canada wins.



2016 Per Capita External Debt (USD):


88.8% of annual GDP.


$56,000 per capita.


53.0% of annual GDP.


$46,800 per capita.


Canada wins.



Ease of Doing Business

United States ranks 8th and was 3rd in 2008-2009 during recession in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.


The USA wins.

Canada ranks 22nd and was 7th or 8th in 2008-2009 during recession in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index.


Singapore and New Zealand rank one and two.

Military (2014):


See world rankings here.



Military Strength Index


Note: Canada can hardly be expected to compare to the USA which has a far greater population and economy to tap into due to having grown much more after the original settlers came from Europe to explore and settle each respective country.  Thanks to the fact that the USA fought the Revolutionary War against Great Britain, and other conflicts against Spain and even the French, the results are what they are.

2,349,950 personnel of which

1,492,200 are active,

843,750 are reserve;

7.3 per 1,000


Budget $611.2 USD billion annual.


The U.S.A. armed forces are the most sophisticated in the world.  One U.S.A. aircraft carrier group, one nuclear sub and the US Marines would best the entire Canadian armed forces.  With a push of a button the U.S.A. military could destroy any army or country on the planet… if needed… and protect any of our allies from takeover in the process.


The USA wins.

321,450 personnel of which

166,000 are active, 130,950 are reserve;

8.8 per 1,000.


Budget $15.5 USD billion annual.


Canada may share N-weapons provided by the U.S.A. via NATO plans.


Canada focuses more on improving their health care and quality of life options while leaving the dirty work of policing any external threats up to their big brother to the south.  It never hurts to have a single border with the greatest country and trading partner on Earth (the USA) vs. bordering countries run by more aggressive adversaries in the world.

California’s Army National Guard combined with other branches of the military stationed there, and along with the corresponding equipment, are a better fighting force than Canada’s and most other nation’s armed forces as well.



USA has the 2nd largest active duty force while Canada has apx. The 35th largest.



Climate factors into one’s potential quality of life along with how much land area a nation might be able to exploit for future growth, sustenance and economic improvement.

USA Climate


The climate of the “lower 48 states” of United States varies due to differences in latitude, and a range of geographic features, including mountains and deserts.  Alaska’s climate is similar to northern Canada. 


Most areas within the USA are better places to live, from a climate perspective, which is a key reason the USA has a much larger population than Canada.


The USA wins.

Canada Climate


For the vast majority of Canadian’s, due to the extremely cold and harsh weather of the north, they have migrated into the very southern regions and cities where a better quality of life, similar to what may be found in the northern US states,  may be had.

Mediterranean climate, with cool, rainy winters and dry summers.

World Maps.

Industry or



Economy of USA


Highly diversified, world leading, high-technology innovator, second-largest industrial output in the world; petroleum, steel, motor vehicles, aerospace, telecommunication, chemicals, drugs, arms industry, electronics, food processing, consumer goods, lumber, mining.


The USA wins.

Economy of Canada


Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, oil sands, fish products, petroleum and natural gas and minerals such as gold, iron and magnesium.



* Apx 1/10th of U.S.A.

The USA wins

(15 of 21)

Canada wins

(6 of 21)



** Click here for more info…






Analysis and Conclusions


Even though the U.S.A. has only 4.4% of the world’s population it has, in fact, grown to be THE POWERHOUSE of the world in more than one sense of the word POWERHOUSE.  It should be producing only 4-5% of the world’s GDP.  Instead it generates enough goods and services, which are consumed internally and externally, to claim nearly 25% of the world’s GDP.  Only China, which has 4.25 times the human capital, even comes close to the productivity achieved on this front.


This GDP factor (one among many) actually makes it possible for billions of other people in the world to live better lives than they would otherwise.  Were it not for the U.S.A. with its technologies and the creative manner in which US corporations (such as Boeing, Walmart, Exxon Mobile, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, United Health, UPS, FedEx, GM, Ford, AT&T, GE, Amazon, Google, McDonald’s, Home Depot, et al … 21 of the top 50 companies worldwide) produce and move goods, information and people around the globe billions more people would be living a life of poverty, disease, famine and turmoil all over the world.


Largest companies by revenue

Largest employers



Canada is a very similar story but on a much smaller scale.  It compares with California and would make a great 51st state if it were to join with the U.S.A.  Likewise, the quality of life one finds in Canada, al be it at a slightly higher cost of living (taxes, RE cost and cost of consumption), is on par with a state such as California.


The fact that Canada is next door to the U.S.A. and the two countries enjoy such a positive history and proximity to each other, and because the people of the U.S.A. are able to consume the majority ($267 billion of $545 billion or 49%) of the output of Canada’s resources, as they are generated for sale, only serves to highlight how important the U.S.A. is to Canada’s every day economy and well-being as well.  Most of Canada’s main employers are companies started in the U.S.A.  The people in the U.S.A. are a large consumer population in the world only because they are a larger producer in the world.  The U.S.A. must first produce things of value in order to be able to consume things of value.  Canada factors into this equation in a very positive way but only because it is next door to the U.S.A. and because U.S. companies have set up shop in Canada; and only because the U.S.A. is able to create and protect an environment at home and abroad (in North America and as the key player in NATO) whereby free and democratic nations can prosper without being ruled by tyrants and dictators. 


Most Canadians fail to recognize just how important the U.S.A. is when it comes to their own quality of life issues.


Which leads to yet another important point.


The U.S.A. military and the sacrifices made by our armed services (and our tax payers who fund this resource) are NOTEABLE.  Every time in the past when the U.S.A. has sat back and allowed tyrants and dictators to rule other areas of the world, without any checks or balances (such as in the case of Germany and Japan leading up to and during WWII), MULTIPLE MILLIONS of lives have been wasted and many, many negative economic side effects have resulted by the plundering and destruction of the rest of the world, including the U.S.A. and Canada.  Canada never could have helped turn the tide alone during WWII or during any other conflicts since.  Had the U.S.A. not decided enough was enough, during WWII, and finally got involved in that historic war the planet would be a lot worse off, as a result, today.  Canada has little choice but to be a follower vs. a leader when it comes to decisive action and dealing with the many tyrants and dictators around the globe.


The U.S.A. has sacrificed BILLIONS (perhaps TRILLIONS) over the years to weed out and shut down tyrants and dictators during our 240+ year history.  And the U.S.A. has sacrificed more than its fair share of lives in the process too.  Our military is second to none because of one very simple reason; we value our freedom more than any other country or group of people on the face of the planet.  PERIOD.


Which leads to yet another important point.


The U.S.A. government may not be perfect.  But, so far, it is the BEST government on the face of the earth.  For the size of our nation, the diversity of opinions and the complexity of our society, it strikes a very good BALANCE between FREEDOM on the one hand and LAWS and SECURITY on the other hand.  The U.S.A. THRIVES through good times and through bad times only because of the U.S. Constitution, the form of government the U.S.A. has crafted and nurtured over time, and the checks and balances the people have fought so hard to protect over the past 240+ years.


While there are rich and poor alike in most countries, and the USA is certainly no exception, on average the U.S.A. has as high or a higher quality of life as can be found in any other country on Earth.  It is one of only a handful of countries where people are able to walk around on the streets, day and night, without being paranoid that the government is out to get them or that corruption is running so rampant that we would like to leave and go somewhere else to set up shop.  In fact, the exact opposite is true.  We may soon have to build “a wall” (on our southern border anyway) just to keep people from other countries from swamping our nation and dragging it down.  We are not oppressed nor are we depressed nor are we insecure in relationship to our government… even though parts of our media and some groups of people would prefer that we be otherwise.


Many people come to the U.S.A. and start over even though they can’t seem to understand that it is possible to have a government which really is NOT eavesdropping on them (it couldn’t even if it tried), and that does not expect them to worship or bow down to the government, and that it will not take away their hard earned money w/o JUST cause.  It takes immigrants coming from many other places years and years, sometimes, to recover from the paranoid issues they bring with them when it comes to understanding that the U.S.A. government, military and police forces are, for the most part, here to protect and serve everyone within our country.


You can argue until you are blue in the face about the shortcomings of the U.S.A. government (a republic NOT a democracy); which are very few if any at the state level.  But, it all comes down to where the rubber meets the road.  Our GDP and resulting quality of life over the years is so great only because our government, economy and businesses are so great.  The only thing that will ever diminish the greatness of our country will be if all the other peoples of the world finally wake up and start following our example and decide they too want the “good life”; in a place where one can pursue their own life, liberty and happiness.  Maybe then the rest of the world will eventually run on par with the U.S.A.  We can only hope.  The only other option is that they can try to drag us back down to their level.  Good luck with that option.  That is not likely to happen any time soon.


What other factors make the U.S.A. and Canada great countries to live in?


Answer: Industry.  All countries have their industrial engines.  Some more so than others.  The U.S.A. industrial complex and engine, the resulting technologies, and the U.S.A. education system, coupled with the vast resources and hardworking, creative spirit of the nation, are second to none.  Ours is the only country which has designed, engineered and put forth the necessary creative effort to travel to another body in the universe, step foot on it (with 120 toes) or land mechanical robots on them (Russia has had 2 rovers on the moon) and bring something of value (new found knowledge) back to Earth.  We make things happen; from things like the first engine-powered aircraft, to the light bulb and the Tesla auto, to things like e-mail.  We produce more vehicles of all types and sizes to move more people back and forth to work (within one of the world’s most complex transportation systems), to shopping, and to any place they need to go than any other country.  And we produce more planes to get more people more places faster and more efficiently than any other nation on the planet also.  We have developed technologies such as computers and the mobile phone which have enabled commerce and information to flow and improve the entire planet.  And we have shown the world how to set up telecommunications systems and the internet which also connects the world to anywhere they want to be.  We have made a majority of the major breakthroughs in modern medicine which have supported the near tripling of life expectancies at home and abroad.  If the many, many major corporations and government services of the U.S.A. were to shut their doors and turn off their lights tomorrow, and go on strike for just one week, the entire planet would come to a grinding halt in no time.  This may be a bold statement and may not be true in the distant future.  But, as of 2017, it is a reality that most of the rest of the world should be thankful for.


Anyone who wishes to undermine U.S.A. interests is misguided and is only seeking to undermine their own sad existence in the process.


Industrial strength is one major reason why both the U.S.A. and Canada stand out in terms of per capita and median incomes.  One thing to note, concerning those two indicators for our countries, is that Canada’s median income is sometimes higher (half the people above it and half below) than in the U.S.A. … but that also depends on the rate of exchange which currently favors the U.S.A. One thing that drags down this number for the U.S.A. is because we harbor more refugees and illegal immigrants than we should.  These people flee other oppressed countries and come and beat down our doors for refuge, asylum, safety, security, free services, and support and we comply all too readily to meet their needs.  People in the U.S.A. have always believed in the motto inscribed on the Statue of Liberty



Even the most down trodden and poor among us are able to tap into enough services and gain access to enough assistance that they are far better off than they would be in almost any other country they may have come from.  That said… the U.S.A. will always have a fairly low unemployment rate.  There is work to be done and jobs to be had for anyone who desires to improve their way of life.


Inflation and the cost of living is the flip side to that same coin, however.  Recently Canada has made some great strides to improve on their rate of inflation, managing their budget (with occasional surpluses no less) and reducing their debt.  One would like to carry that over into the vast reaches of the U.S.A. government as well.  It has been said that if all the dead beats in the U.S.A. would simply pay the taxes they owe then the debt would be wiped out in 5 years and we would run a budget surplus overnight.  The problem is too many people are being paid under the table and the tax system is too complex to enforce it fairly across the board.  The other problem is that the U.S.A. spends too much money abroad, protecting the interests of nearly every freedom loving nation out there.  Our military is stationed in dozens of countries requiring billions each year to equip and maintain.  Only the U.S.A. rises to the occasion when a police action is required… although tiny little Israel can’t be faulted for the courage display at times also.  In short, it sure would be nice if all the countries that owe us would pay us back… or at least pull their own weight.


There are many other reasons why life is good in the U.S.A.  Just look at the chart above.  The diversity of climate and the wide selection of state governments, cities, parks, mountains, rivers, canyons, lakes, coast lines, sports, arts and cultures along with the vast mix of opportunities and life styles are like the colors in a rainbow.


O, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave… O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?




The U.S.A. has many, many strengths, and only a couple weaknesses that need to be addressed.  Canada does a very good job also, considering its relative size and massive resources.  But, you would be hard pressed to get me and most patriotic citizens to move from our country and go live somewhere else, for the obvious reasons, even when they claim the U.S.A. is one of the worst places in the world to live in.  For some strange reason, even the worst complainers never seem to want to leave unless they are offered a very large sum of money or are running and hiding from the law.


I’m just glad I was born and raised as a U.S. citizen in the greatest nation on Earth.  And anyone, even Trump, who thinks that isn’t the case, has another think coming.