Social Well-Being Tracker

Welcome to our social well-being indicator tracker! This tracker is an adaptation of our bi-annual Tracking the Trends publication. Adapting Tracking the Trends into an online format allows us to update data as it is released, solidifying it as a source of timely and accurate information focused on our community. This data can assist you to learn about social issues, write reports, design programs, and inform your decision-making.

Our Tracking the Trends publication will continue to be regularly released.

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 society makes available to its members. Important considerations include both the quality and their distribution amongst the population. 1

If you would like to learn more about the social determinates of health:

Canadian Public Health Association website: https://www.cpha.ca/what-are-social-determinants-health

Government of Canada website: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/health-promotion/population-health/what-determines-health.html

O’Hara, P. (2006). Social Inclusion Health Indicators: A framework for addressing the social determinants of health. Edmonton Social Planning Council. https://era.library.ualberta.ca/items/969b8b10-06c4-4cef-8bb1-d545acc48d70/view/c46ab661-09c4-4b30-aa6f-39a496f53129/2006_socialinclusion.pdf

Raphael, D., Bryant, T., Mikkonon, J., & Raphael, A. (2020). Social determinants of Health: The Canadian facts (2nd edition). Ontario Tech University Faculty of Health Science and Toronto: York University School of Health Policy and Management. https://www.thecanadianfacts.org/

Social Determinants Tools (click to read)

A Tool for the Public

Edmontonians’ awareness of social issues is critical to improving the inclusivity of our communities. Understanding the difficulties that our neighbours face can challenge us to recognize barriers in our communities. It can affect the way we think of, and treat, each other. Regardless of our backgrounds, we all share this city and region, and have an interest in its healthy future.

A Tool for Decision-Makers

For planners and policy-makers, this collection of data provides a clearer understanding of the current and historical social conditions in Edmonton. This information can provide the background necessary to make informed decisions, and the insight needed to anticipate future changes.

We encourage readers to use Tracking the Trends to assess how well all orders of government and community organizations are fulfilling their role in ensuring citizens have the support they need to maintain a decent standard of living.

A Tool for Social Organizations and Researchers

The work of organizations that are involved in social development activities must be informed by the current and historical context. The information presented in Tracking the Trends is necessary for program planning, organizational strategy-building, as well as other community development activities.

Students and researchers will also benefit from this rich and unified source of data to inform their research projects. Such in-depth research is important for expanding our knowledge of specific issues and informing social policy development.

In any community, public policy, social health, and economic well-being are intricately linked. Still, there is disagreement on how these factors influence each other and how to use public policy and social programs to bring about positive change.

Labour force participation and minimum wage tell us something about the percentage of the population that is working, and how much employers are paying for labour. Alberta Works benefit rates reflect the standard of living for those on the economic margins. Some data shows us what it costs to live, such as the Consumer Price Index and average rents. Other data indicate people’s capacity to earn an income and maintain a decent standard of living. Low-income data gives an indication of the proportion of the population that live on incomes that are insufficient to cover the costs of living.

The data presented helps to answer the following questions:

  • How is Edmonton’s population changing?
  • Have opportunities to make a living increased?
  • How has the cost of living changed?
  • Has the cost of living become more affordable?
  • What is the living wage?
  • Has social equality improved?
  • What groups within the population experience inequities, and how deep are the inequities they experience?
  • Are disadvantaged people receiving the support they need to improve their situation?

Despite the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, understanding long- and medium-term trends helps us to contextualize our current situation. Challenges such as poverty, housing and homelessness, and maintaining strong public health and education will persist long after the virus has been eradicated.

Trend directions and values in this tracker are assigned based on longer time-frames of 10 or more years, as well as shorter-term fluctuations. 

This tracker includes charts relating to both the City of Edmonton and Edmonton CMA. Edmonton city refers to the municipal city limits, whereas Edmonton CMA includes the surrounding counties such as Sturgeon, Parkland, Leduc, and Strathcona.

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