By Sara Mudge
Being at the mid-point of a 10-year commitment to Vital Signs, we decided to take a look back on data reported in past reports and identify trends that have emerged. Here are some of the highlights:
- The overall poverty rate in the Saint John CMA has declined from 23% to 20.6%
- Violent crime has remained fairly constant, averaging 2,120 incidents per year
- The obesity rate has remained constant: 24.9% in 2005 and 24.2% in 2010
- The percentage of population with post-secondary education has risen slightly from 45.1% to 46.3%
- The rental vacancy rate has declined from 5.1% to 3.4%
- The unemployment rate has remained constant: 7.1% in 2005 and 7.6% in 2010
- The youth unemployment rate has risen slightly from 12.4% in 2005 and 13.7% in 2010
- The number of tax filers making charitable donations has decreased from 25.3% to 22.9%
- Household spending in arts and culture has remained constant, averaging $940 per household
- Household compost rates have increased from 59% to 70%
The GSJCF has been using Vital Signs data to influence our granting and has created a $30,000 Anniversary Grant, awarded annually to those organizations that help address Vital Signs priorities.
Past projects include the creation of a school where teenage mothers can obtain their high school diploma, the expansion of a homeless shelter to include 42 additional beds, a new playground in a poverty-stricken neighbourhood, a physical activity program for children, a youth-oriented environmental program to improve the health and integrity of the harbour and estuaries, the production of a musical to commemorate Saint John’s 225th Anniversary, and the creation of a teen pregnancy prevention program.
Sara Mudge is Secretary for The Greater Saint John Community Foundation