By Marina Boulos
Greater Montreal’s Vital Signs returned for a fifth year in 2011.
In five years, Vital Signs has developed a loyal following of people and organizations who await its publication. It has become a great guide for one’s philanthropic actions. In fact, 98% of our 2011 community grants are in response to a Vital Sign.
Vital Signs is a recognizable brand, and the Foundation of Greater Montreal has begun to provide presentations about it to companies, libraries, seniors clubs, as well as private clubs.
In five years, one can effectively see if our city has made progress and if certain challenges continue to need everyone’s help. What improvements can we point to? For one thing, Greater Montreal is on a roll. With its high-tech industries and the predicted creation of 60,000 new jobs by 2014, Montreal has some good days ahead… its diversity is a great source of enrichment and a vehicle for advancement.
The unemployment rates amongst immigrants has declined by 18% in one year. Other good news is that the high school drop-out rate decreased by 2.8% in the past three years. While only 48% participate in some form of physical activity, obesity declined by 4% in the last year.
What are the challenges? The cost of living has risen in Greater Montreal. In one year, the city gained almost 20 ranking spots (from 98th to 79th) as one of the most expensive cities in the world. As well, an increasing number of households with employment income are relying on food banks to feed their families, an increase of 65% in 3 years. And finding housing for families is becoming difficult as three-bedroom apartments are scarce, with a decrease in the vacancy rate of 2.1% in 2010 to 1% in 2011.
Finally, 93.5% of Greater Montreal residents are happy with their lives, almost 5% more than in 2003. That makes me happy, too.
Marina Boulos is President & CEO of the Foundation of Greater Montreal