Social Well-Being Tracker
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.
Government income supports (also known as income transfers), as well as other social programs and services, play an important role in preventing poverty.
For many people, hard work is not enough to get out of poverty. Some of the barriers to well-paid employment include: limited English language proficiency; lack of access to education; non-recognition of foreign credentials; social isolation; limited access to child care; conflicting work and family responsibilities; and even the structure of government programs. These barriers often disproportionately affect visible minority groups (particularly newcomers), Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and lone-parent women.
Income transfers should help all citizens maintain a decent quality of life—in particular, the ability to afford a nutritious diet, safe housing, and some level of financial stability. Income security is necessary for both those who are and are not able to work.
When incomes do not increase at the rate of inflation, low- and modest-income families are at greater risk of poverty. Those already living in poverty fall even further behind.
The affordability and accessibility of services such as child care and education are crucial for enabling people to acquire and maintain adequate employment and, accordingly, financial independence.
How is Edmonton Changing?
The number of people in metro Edmonton receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits reached a record high in 2016 due to the economic downturn and significant job losses. The number of EI recipients has since decreased as benefits expired for some and others found employment in an improving job market.
During a downturn, the number of households receiving Income Support (Alberta Works) peak later as some EI recipients are still unable to find work prior to the expiry of their benefits. This requires them to access Income Support to pay for essential living expenses. Income Support caseloads in the Edmonton Region (which has similar boundaries to the CMA) reached a staggering high in 2019.
The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program is not as affected by economic conditions, but rather by the proportion of the adult population living with disabilities. The number of AISH recipients has been growing slightly faster than the population overall.
In 2019, there was a small increase to both AISH and Alberta Works monthly benefits, but these benefits are still well below living costs. The introduction of the Alberta Child Benefit (ACB) and the enhancement of the Canada Child Benefit in July 2016 have made a positive difference in the lives of low- and middle-income families with children. However, in July 2020 the ACB and the Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit (AFETC) were consolidated into a single provincial program: the new Alberta Child and Family Benefit (ACFB). This has reduced the overall amount of support some families receive. Future analyses will determine how these changing benefits will affect low-income children and families.
Indicators (click below)
- BD1 Average Monthly Number of Households Receiving Alberta Works, Edmonton Region
- BD2 Alberta Works Payments (Basic and Shelter Allowances) for the Expected to Work,
- BD3 Average Monthly Number of AISH Recipients, Edmonton Region
- BD4 Maximum Monthly AISH Benefit Payments, Alberta
- BD5 Number of Individuals Receiving Employment Insurance (EI), Edmonton CMA
- BD6 Source of Government Transfers, All Family Types, Edmonton CMA
- BD7 Source of Government Transfers, Couple Families, Edmonton CMA
- BD8 Source of Government Transfers, Lone-Parent Families, Edmonton CMA
- BD9 Source of Government Transfers, Single Adults, Edmonton CMA
- BD10 Child Poverty Reductions Resulting from Government Transfers, Alberta