The U.S.-Canada Relationship: Where Are We Similar and Different?

March 23, 2023

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Joe Biden will soon visit Canada. How will this 2-day visit impact the U.S.-Canada relationship? Looking only at Canada and the United States through a political lens may lead to the impression that the two countries are completely different–but our latest survey conducted among Canadians and Americans shows that there’s more to the story.

Americans and Canadians Think the U.S.-Canada Relationship is Positive

Although we may have our differences, overall, we and our northern neighbors think the U.S.-Canada relationship is positive: more specifically, 90% of Americans and 78% of Canadians think it is good.

u.s.-canada relationship

Our Closest Allies

When we asked Americans and Canadians who they feel is their country’s closest ally, Canada came out on top for U.S. residents (47% feel it is the United States’ closest ally). While the U.S. topped the list among Canadians (61% feel it is Canada’s closest ally), the UK was a closer runner-up for top ally in the U.S. (36%) than in Canada (26%).

As Biden and Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, work through a variety of issues over the next couple of days, this relationship will be important.

Political Issues: Some Similarities, Some Differences

Canadians and Americans think the U.S.-Canada relationship is positive, but do they think the relationship needs to be strengthened? More so in some areas than others.

Similar proportions of Canadians and Americans think the U.S. and Canada should strengthen their relationship when it comes to addressing the opioid crisis and defense cooperation (NORAD). However, the story is different in terms of developing energy and oil reserves and climate change: more Americans (76% vs. 69% of Canadians) think strengthening the relationship is important for the former, and more Canadians (73% vs. 63% of Americans) think strengthening the relationship is important for the latter.

Given that Canada and the United States share the world’s longest land border, we were also curious about how perspectives on immigration differ between the two countries. Interestingly, we found they aren’t too different: a nearly identical proportion of Americans (38%) and Canadians (39%) think their country should admit fewer immigrants than in the past.

Living in the Other Country

Now that the borders have reopened, many Canadians and Americans are traveling back and forth between Canada and the United States as they did before the pandemic. Are they considering moving, though? It turns out Americans are more likely to consider living in Canada (40%) than Canadians (27%) are to consider living in the U.S.

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