Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by Edmonton Community Foundation, in partnership with Edmonton Social Planning Council, to measure how the community is doing. This year we will also be focusing on individual issues, VITAL TOPICS, that are timely and important to Edmonton. Watch for these in each issue of Legacy in Action, and in the full issue of Vital Signs that will be released in October of this year.

This edition focuses on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.

LIMITATIONS IN RESEARCH: It is important to note that statistics and data are mostly compiled in binary categories (male or female). Similarly, often it is assumed that there are gay or straight couples only. Sources for these statistics are available at ecfoundation.org

Download (PDF)

June 20, 2018 

12:00 Noon - 1:00 PM

Program Room - Stanley Milner Library (Enterprise Square Branch)

10212 Jasper Avenue

Topic: Tracking the Trends 

Did you know that the number of Indigenous people living in the city of Edmonton (50,280) and region (76,205) has grown at about double the rate of the overall population in the past 20 years? Interested in finding out more about population demographics, education and employment, living costs & housing, income &wealth, poverty & government transfers, and key indicators of Edmonton's social health? Then please join us for our lunch and learn. 

Here is the link to the report. 


The Edmonton Social Planning Council (ESPC) today released the 2018 edition of its flagship publication Tracking the Trends. The 131-page publication provides a detailed analysis of social and economic trends in Edmonton. Information is provided about population demographics, education and employment, living costs & housing, income & wealth, poverty & government transfers, and key indicators of Edmonton’s social health.

Download: Tracking the Trends 2018

Planning Strategically for the Future:

“Edmonton is the youngest major city in Canada and the only one that has become younger in the past ten years,” noted John Kolkman, the report’s lead author. “Not only does this mean that we need to build more seniors housing, but booming enrolments means Edmonton also has to build many new schools.”

  • Bucking national trends, in the most recent ten year period, Edmonton has become slightly younger as the median age fell from 36.1 to 35.7 years (p.5);

Increased Diversity

“A key message in this year’s Tracking the Trends is that – despite a difficult economy caused by struggling oil and natural gas prices - Edmonton is still attracting thousands of newcomers from around the world who are eager to make a contribution in their new home. At quite a rapid rate, Edmonton is becoming increasingly diverse racially and culturally,” said Kolkman.

  • The number of immigrants and refugees permanently settling in metro Edmonton increased by 270% between 2000 and 2017 (p. 7);
  • Reflecting this increased diversity, the number of non-Indigenous Edmontonians who are visible minorities (non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour) more than tripled from 110,160 in 1996 (18.1% of Edmontonians) to 339,040 in 2016 (37.1% of Edmontonians) (p. 9); and
  • The number of Indigenous people living in the city (50,280) and region (76,205) has grown at about double the rate of the overall population in the past twenty years (p. 6).

Better Educated

“A consistently positive trend is the continuing improvement in educational attainment both in terms of high school graduation and post-secondary completion,” said Kolkman. “This trend is particularly impressive considering the extra challenges posed by the rapid growth in the number of English Language Learners in our schools,” he added.

  • For the past 15 years in which data is available, the three-year high school completion rate for the Edmonton Public School District improved by 18.4% from 57.0% in the 2000/01 school year to 75.4% in 2015/16.
  • In the Edmonton Catholic School District, the three-year completion rate improved by 24.8% from 59.7% in 2000/01 to 84.5% in the 2015/16 year.

Economic Picture Not Great

Kolkman noted that the economic picture in Edmonton is more negative with many of the employment and income support trends getting worse or at best stuck in neutral for the past several years:

  • Despite modest improvement toward the end of the year, the unemployment rate averaged 8.1% in 2017, a twenty-year high (p. 38).
  • Vulnerable groups are being particularly hard hit with the unemployment rate for Indigenous people averaging 13.4% in 2017 and youth unemployment averaging 14.9%. (p. 50, 51);
  • The number of people receiving Employment Insurance regular benefits peaked at a twenty year high of 27,388 in 2016, and declined only slightly to 24,894 in 2017 (p. 98);
  • The number of Edmonton households relying on Alberta Works (income support) benefits hit 27,439 in 2017, also a twenty-year high (p. 98).

Income Inequality Significant

While median after-tax incomes are up overall, much of this increase has gone to the highest income earners:

  • Between 1982 and 2015, the top 1% of Edmonton taxfilers have seen their after-tax incomes go up by 69.7%, after accounting for inflation, compared to only a 3.2% increase for the bottom 50% of taxfilers (p. 72);
  • There continues to be a significant income gap based on gender. In 2015, female taxfilers median after-tax was $30,580, or 63.7% of the $47,990 in after-tax income for male taxfilers (p. 75).
  • Employment earnings provide the main source of income for all family types including 72.2% of the total income for lone-parent families in 2015 (p. 77).
  • Despite recent increases in Alberta’s minimum wage, over one in five (21.5%) Edmonton workers earned below the $16.31 living wage (p. 79).

Poverty Trends

Tracking the Trends 2018 includes the most recently available poverty and low wage trends:

  • 135,240 people in metro Edmonton lived in poverty in 2015, 10.5% of the population (p. 87).
  • The younger a person is, the greater the likelihood they will be living in poverty. 41,580 of those living in poverty were children and youth under 18, or 15.2% of all children and youth (p. 88);
  • Government income transfers, especially refundable child benefits, are a crucial tool in lifting children and youth out of poverty. In the absence of these transfers, child poverty would have been 27.3% higher in 2015. The poverty reduction impacts of new and enhanced federal and provincial child benefits - introduced in mid-year 2016 –should lift even more children out of poverty (p. 97).

Edmontonians Still Struggling to get Enough Food

  • Edmonton’s Food Bank served 23,181 individuals through its hamper program in March 2017, the fourth consecutive year usage was up (p. 65).

“Timely, accurate information is critical to informed decision-making,” said Kolkman. Tracking the Trends 2018 is a one-stop resource for identifying and analyzing a broad range of social and economic trends impacting those with low and modest incomes in our community,” he concluded.


Download: Tracking the Trends 2018


TIME: 5:30 TO 6:15 P.M.

The ANNEX-Edmonton Food Bank 11434 – 120th Street Edmonton, Alberta

Please join the Board and staff of the Edmonton Social Planning Council to celebrate our accomplishments of the past year, and to hear about upcoming activities of the Council. Your membership must be current in order to vote. Membership may be purchased or renewed at the door.

  • 5:00 pm – Light Refreshments
  • 5:30-6:15 pm – Business Meeting
  • 6:30 pm – Guest Speaker

Please RSVP by May 17th , 2017

Phone: 780-423-2031 ext. 349 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Keynote Speaker:

Aaron Paquette, Edmonton City Councilor for Ward 4 As a lifelong Edmontonian and a parent raising his family in Ward 4, Councillor Paquette is committed to building strong and diverse communities in northeast Edmonton. Prior to his election to Council, Aaron worked as an award-winning Indigenous artist and author. His work can be viewed in museums, schools, hospitals and LRT stations across our city. His novel, Lightfinder, is taught in schools and post-secondary institutions across Canada. He has also worked with local schools in Edmonton’s north side to help create mural projects. His passion for education also led him to work with Alberta Eduction, various school boards and teachers associations to help develop art curriculum and improve academic achievement. In 2012, he created an education conference to lay new ground for more effective approaches to creating healthy and respectful learning environments for students and teachers. In his role as City Councillor for Ward 4, Aaron sits on Executive Committee, Utility Committee and the City Manager and City Auditor Performance Evaluation Committee. He has sponsored the Council Initiative on Food Security, and has also taken a leadership role working on the Child-Friendly Edmonton, End Poverty Edmonton, Multiculturalism and Urban Isolation/Mental Health initiatives. Aaron lives in Brintnell with his wife Clarice and their four children.

The Facility is being provided free of charge by the Edmonton Food Bank.  A non-perishable donation for the Food Bank is welcome. Thank you.


Effective March 1, 2018 our new home will be in the Bassini Building at 10544-106 Street, Suite 200. Our phone numbers don't change, just the address.

We're excited about the move, our new space is bigger and brigher and provides us with some great opportunities.

We're north of MacEwan University and a 10 minute walk, west of the MacEwan LRT station. There is free one hour parking in front of the building. Unfortunately we do not have an elevator, but one is scheduled during the next round of building renovations.