Social Well-Being Indicators
Our social well-being indicators are based on social determinants of health. These indicators are the economic and social conditions that shape the health of individuals and communities. Social determinants of health also determine the extent to which a person possesses the physical, social, and personal resources to identify and achieve personal aspirations, satisfy needs, and cope with the environment. Social determinants of health are about the quantity and quality of a variety of resources that a society makes available to its members. Important considerations include both the quality and their distribution amongst the population. 1
We have organized our social well-being indicators into seven main categories: A – Demographics, B – Income (B – Income, has been separated into four subcategories to handle the complexity and volume of data in this indicator) BA – Income and Income Gaps, BB – Poverty, BC – Cost of Living, BD – Government Transfers, C – Employment and Labour, D – Education and Literacy, E – Built Environment, F – Social Inclusion, G – Health and Health Services.
Demographics are, simply put, the characteristics of a population. At a practical level, this type of information is important in planning a community’s future. Knowing how many people live in a given area, and their basic attributes, is critical to make funding decisions and deliver services effectively. The age profile and cultural composition of a city, for example, dictate the types of programs, services, and policies needed to support a population.
How is Edmonton Changing?
In Edmonton, like other major Canadian cities, the median age of the population steadily increased until 2006. Since then, the median age in Edmonton has dropped slightly, while the proportion of seniors in other cities continues to increase. This drop in the median age means Edmonton must plan not only for more seniors care but also for more schools as many Edmontonians have young families.
There has also been significantly increased immigration to Edmonton which is another contributor to the cities’ relative youthfulness. There are, however, many steps involved in successfully welcoming newcomers to a city, particularly in terms of integration into communities and the economy. Newcomers are often at an economic and social disadvantage. They need additional support to become fully-active citizens, and to feel welcome and valued.
A lot of the demographic data ESPC tracks—such as the age makeup of the city, the Indigenous population, language and ethnic diversity, citizenship, and family types—comes from the Federal Census. The last Census was completed in 2016, and reported in the 2018 edition of Tracking the Trends. Since we have no new data for this edition of Tracking the Trends, please refer back to the 2018 edition for this information.
While these demographics are not included in this edition, it is important to note the general changes. In contrast to other cities, Edmonton is becoming younger. Edmonton is also becoming more diverse: the Indigenous population is growing at twice the rate of the overall population, the number of immigrants is steadily growing, and the proportion of people who identify as a visible minority is growing. Language diversity is growing alongside population diversity.
Since 2016, Edmonton City and Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) populations have been growing steadily. Edmonton city refers to the city of Edmonton, whereas Edmonton CMA includes the surrounding counties such as Sturgeon, Parkland, Leduc, and Strathcona. The City of Edmonton has grown 9.92% and the Edmonton CMA has grown 9.51%. Entry of permanent residents has steadily increased as well, while entry of temporary residents is on the decline.