Greater Victoria’s 2021 Vital Signs report is in, and it details the overall well-being of the region during a year of pandemic challenges.
The annual temperature check by the Victoria Foundation examines and grades 12 issues in the community based on a resident survey and various local, provincial and national data sources. This year, the report committed to focusing on equity and inclusion and contains sidebars examining how each issue may affect different marginalized groups disproportionately.
The number of residents who took part in the survey more than doubled from 1,793 in 2020 to 3,757 in 2021, the majority of whom are financially well-off, white, and long-term residents of the region. Together, they graded the region’s overall quality of life a B.
Respondents were enthusiastic about the beauty of Greater Victoria, listing the environment, climate, and air quality as the best things about the region. When it came to concerns, cost of living, housing, homelessness and addiction were top of mind.
Of the 12 issues examined, Greater Victoria scored best on learning (B+) and sports and recreation (B+), and worst on getting started (D+) and housing (D+).
Notably, Indigenous people were overrepresented in several categories, including homelessness and children in foster care. Of the survey’s BIPOC respondents, 58 and 60 per cent said they felt included and respected in the region, respectively. But, data included from a survey solely of BIPOC individuals showed 71 per cent had experienced racism in the last five years.
The pandemic also had a serious effect on the region, increasing discrimination against people of Asian descent, reducing people’s income and diminishing transportation use, among other factors. And, it was another record-breaking year for overdose deaths, as they shot from 74 in the south Island in 2019 to 137 in 2020.
For the first time, all of these issues can now be examined by residents in-depth online. The full Vital Signs data hub can be found at victoria-vital-signs.tracking-progress.org.
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