The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) today released the 2009 edition of its signature publication Tracking the Trends. The 128-page publication examines in detail demographic, education and employment, living costs and housing, income and wealth, and poverty trends that together comprise the social health of Edmontonians. Newly incorporated into the 2009 edition is a look at well-being in Edmonton at the neighbourhood level using 2006 federal census data.
“Whether planning programs and services in our community, or developing policies, timely accurate information is critical to ensuring plans reflect reality,” said Susan Morrissey, the ESPC’s Executive Director. “The objective of Tracking the Trends is to be a one-stop resource for identifying and analyzing a broad range of social and economic trends in the Edmonton city and region to help inform decision-making,” she added.
“In the two years since the last release of Tracking the Trends our city and region has gone from an economic boom to a recession. This is beginning to take a toll and will likely reverse the steady improvement in social health experienced since the mid-1990s ,” said John Kolkman, the ESPC’s Research and Policy Analysis Coordinator. Kolkman co-authored the report along with Anette Kinley.
“As much as possible the 2009 edition of Tracking the Trends attempts to capture this changed reality by including partial year data,” said Kolkman. “So far in 2009, the number of social assistance recipients is up 19%, food bank usage is up 40%, unemployment of vulnerable groups like Aboriginals is up sharply, and two and a half times more Edmontonians are receiving employment insurance benefits compared to last year.”
A highlight of the 10th edition of Tracking the Trends is the neighbourhood maps. “Putting 2006 Census data into maps gives a much clearer picture of the diversity amongst Edmonton neighbourhoods than any table or chart could,” says Kolkman.
“These maps show the greatest disparity in socio-economic status is not between provinces or cities across Canada, but between neighbourhoods in our own city,” Kolkman said, pointing out that the most and the least socially vulnerable neighbourhoods in Edmonton are often located mere kilometers apart. “Tracking neighbourhood trends can help decision makers to direct more resources to these vulnerable neighbourhoods,” he concluded.
For more information contact:
John Kolkman, Research and Policy Analysis Coordinator
(780) 423-2031 x350