Greater Victoria residents seem to be a little more positive about their standard of living and their sense of belonging and engagement this year. However, views on local transportation aren’t quite as optimistic.
These are just some of the results revealed at Tuesday’s launch of Victoria’s Vital Signs, the annual community report card produced by the Victoria Foundation and sponsored by Island Savings Credit Union. Unique to the region, it combines public opinion with statistics and relevant facts to provide a snapshot of the livability and well-being of the community.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the popular report, which included a number of added features to mark the achievement.
“We’re very excited to release our 10th anniversary edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson. “In addition to our usual collection of statistics and public survey results, we’ve included commentary from a number of sector leaders in our community as well as a look back at the milestones and impacts from the last decade. I think it’s our best Vital Signs yet.”
Most of the letter grades given to the 12 issues discussed in the report remained the same as last year, but Standard of Living and Sense of Belonging have gone up slightly. Transportation saw an average of B-minus compared with C-plus in 2014. Respondents to this year’s survey generally consider themselves happy and satisfied with many aspects of their lives, but some are struggling with issues such as the high cost of living, housing, employment, food security and other financial stresses.
In fact, almost a quarter of all workers in the region are involuntary part-time workers, and 23 per cent could not pay their bills on time at least once in a given year, according to the report. Further statistics indicate that some issues are improving while others are staying the same or falling behind.
For example, crime rates have declined, median household incomes have increased, and the rates for completing high school are improving.
Meanwhile, youth physical activity levels have dropped, poverty rates for vulnerable populations have remained relatively high, and the rental vacancy rate has decreased sharply, despite a net increase in rental units.
Victoria Foundation board chair Rasool Rayani said Vital Signs is integral to the work of the foundation.
“As the region’s largest non-government funder, it’s vitally important for us to have our finger on the pulse of the community. Connecting this knowledge with strategic philanthropy is what we do. Vital Signs gives us a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities in our region, and allows us to share this knowledge with others for the betterment of us all.
“The strength of Victoria’s Vital Signs has always been the breadth of issues it explores, together with the grades, opinions and perceptions provided through the citizen survey.”
Results from the citizen survey include: 90 per cent of respondents feel supported by loving family, companions and/or friends; 26 per cent feel high or overwhelming stress associated with personal finance; 63 per cent feel they know their neighbours well enough to ask for assistance; and 20 per cent feel uncomfortable at least sometimes as a result of discrimination.
Victoria’s Vital Signs report, as well as all source information, is available at www.victoriafoundation.ca.