FAQSocial Well-Being Tracker: Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Tracker?
The Social Well-Being Tracker (the Tracker) is a new resource made available by the Edmonton Social Planning Council. It is an online platform adapted from our flagship bi-annual publication, Tracking the Trends, with the first edition released in 1989 and the most recent edition released in 2020.
The Tracker serves as a source of timely and accurate information focused on the social well-being of Edmonton. It’s a one-stop-shop for questions you may be asking about the collective health of Edmonton and its population. The data is now searchable, with quick links so users can jump between topics and indicators. Graphs and charts can be exported in various formats. The data from Tracking the Trends is now easier to access and use.
Who Is the Tracker For?
The Tracker is available to anybody: the general public, decision-makers, community organizations, and researchers.
Awareness of social issues is a critical component to building an inclusive community. Knowing the challenges and barriers that our neighbours face can help communities work together toward investing in a healthy future.
Collecting data and providing a clear understanding of current and historical conditions in Edmonton can help leaders make informed decisions and anticipate future changes.
Social organizations will find the data helpful for program planning, organizational strategy-building, and program planning, organizational strategy-building, grant proposals, and other community development activities.
Researchers (such as academics and students) will benefit from data that can help inform their research projects.
What Kind of Information Is Tracked?
The data tracks 75 indicators and is organized around the social determinants of health framework. The framework is used by the Public Health Agency of Canada and places an emphasis on societal conditions and their impact on personal well-being. This approach focuses on how a society organizes and distributes economic and social resources, and directs attention to public policies as a means of improving health.
Indicators tracked include demographics, income, employment and labour, education and literacy, social inclusion, health and health services, and many others. Short- and long-term trends (positive, negative, or neutral) guide the user to better understand and analyze the data.
Why Does This Data Matter?
Timely and accurate information is indispensable for evidence-based public policy and community service decision-making. Changes in social well-being are not linear and are dependent on social, economic, and political trends. As such, strategies for positive social change must be rooted in an understanding of the broader historical context of our social environment.
The Tracker has the added benefit of focusing on data that is local to Edmonton, making it a useful tool for people working on social issues in Edmonton and the surrounding region.
What Are the Features of the Tracker?
Regular updates as new information and data is released means the Tracker remains relevant and up-to-date. Users are encouraged to visit the site periodically to check for updates to data as it is made available.
The format of the Tracker allows for interactivity with the data as well as nuanced and informed analysis of what the short- and long-term trends mean, allowing the user to make better sense of the data.
Charts and graphs can be printed, downloaded, or exported as a spreadsheet. This is a great feature for students, researchers, policy analysts, advocates, and others to take the data and use it for their own projects.