The International Boundary is the official name for the longest international border in the world between two countries, specifically Canada and the United States, the second and fourth largest countries by area, respectively. These countries have ever increasing close cultural and economical ties and similarities.

Their shared historical and cultural heritage has resulted in one of the most stable and mutually beneficial international relationships in the world. So how do their populations compare? With so much in common between these two nations, we thought we’d take a look and see just how similar, and different, the everyday person is, in this episode of The Infographics Show: Average American vs Average Canadian.

The population of America is just under 326 million people with the average age being 37.9 years old, and for Canada’s population, the total is a little over 36 million with an average age of 40.6. The average height for an American male is 5 foot 9 inches (175.7 cm) and for a female is 5 foot 3 and a half inches (161.8 cm). For Canadian males, the average height is also 5 feet 9 inches (175.1 cm) and 5 feet 4 inches (162.3 cm) for women. What about weight comparisons?

If a person’s body weight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. When we looked at obesity for Canada vs America, most of the recent studies are of adolescence up to the ages of 19. In the late 1970s, obesity rates for children and adolescents, from ages 3 to 19, in both countries hovered around five per cent. Those numbers have shot up to around 13 per cent in Canada and 17.5 per cent in the US, in recent years. Though Canada trails America in this area, it is steadily catching up.

So what does this say about diet, and what do these neighboring nationals like to eat? Canadians are known for eating poutine, which consists of French fries with gravy and cheese. Potato chips are also different in Canada. They like ketchup chips and all-dressed chips, which are a combination of barbecue, tomato, salt, vinegar, sour cream, and onion. Other classic Canadian foods include smoked meat and beaver tails, which are fried dough, shaped like a beaver tail, with candy and chocolate on top. Americans, on the other hand, eat buffalo wings and S’mores, and of course, are famous for their hot dogs and hamburgers. All foods that are also available in Canada, but are known for being American.

When it comes to life expectancy, according to a report from the US National Research Council, Canadians are likely to outlive Americans, due to being healthier and in better shape. “Health is determined by 100 things, and some of those are obviously more favorable in Canada than they are in the US,” says report co-author Samuel Preston, a professor of demographics at the University of Pennsylvania. Canadians born in 2007 can expect to live up to 82.3 years for women and 79.3 for men, compared to 80.8 and 75.6 for people born in the US. So if Canadians are living longer, surely the healthcare systems of the two countries must differ? Let’s take a look.

According to Wikipedia, the United States spends much more money on healthcare than Canada, on both a per-capita basis and as a percentage of GDP. In 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was $3,678; where as in the US it was $6,714. In that same year, the US spent 15.3% of its GDP on healthcare, while Canada only spent 10.0%. And 70% of healthcare spending in Canada was financed by the government, versus 46% in the United States.

In terms of access to healthcare services, in Canada every legal resident is covered through a publicly financed provincial or territorial plan, whereas American’s need to purchase insurance to be covered, with the lowest-income being eligible for public coverage through the expansion of Medicaid. What about salaries, you might ask? According to the website, the average income of an American and a Canadian are roughly the same amount. Canada’s after-tax monthly income is about $36,000 per year. The US sits just below Canada at approximately $35,300 per year.

We’ve looked at height, weight, health and earnings, but what about the culture and lifestyle of these two nations, and how do they compare in these areas? When it comes to sports, Canadians love hockey! They play hockey, watch hockey, and have hockey on their currency, but surprisingly basketball has overtaken hockey in Canada as the most popular sport.

Americans love football and basketball, and both nations enjoy and compete at Baseball…When it comes to schooling, Canada doesn’t have middle school. Students go to elementary until 6th grade, and then high school from 7th grade to 12th grade, before going to college. Apart from Quebec, where students finish high school after 11th grade, and then go to vocational school for two years, before going college. In the United States, children go to elementary school until 5th grade, then middle school from 6th to 8th, and finally high school from 9th grade to 12th grade. After that, they can go on to college.

And what about languages? Well there are over 500 languages spoken by the US population, but only one official language, which is English, specifically, American English. Canada has two official languages; English and French, and many Canadians believe that the relationship between these two languages is a defining aspect of the Canadian culture. Canada’s Official Languages Commissioner has stated, “In the same way that race is at the core of what it means to be American and at the core of an American experience, and class is at the core of British experience, I think that language is at the core of Canadian experience.”

So,  can you think of other interesting comparisons between Americans and Canadians that are worth sharing? Let us know in the comments! Also, be sure to check out our other video called Average American vs Average Brit! Thanks for watching, and, as always, don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe. See you next time!



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