15th Toronto's Vital Signs Report Released

Trends, Shifts & our Global Standing on Quality of Life

TORONTO, Oct. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - Toronto Foundation releases today the 15th Toronto's Vital Signs Report, the most comprehensive check up on the city's quality of life. Launched in 2001 in Toronto, Vital Signs reports are now produced in more than 80 communities across Canada and around the world.

The Toronto Report tracks quality of life based on ten issue areas, from health and wellness, to the gap between rich and poor, to housing and more. It also takes a snapshot of the city's demographic profile and overall economic health. Together, they paint a picture of how our city is faring, identifying needs and opportunities for improvement.

"By many measures it appears our city is doing quite well," says Sharon Avery, President & CEO, Toronto Foundation. "But quality of life is a relative term. It depends on who you are and where you live," she adds.

"This is a huge and rich repository of data pulling from over 100 sources," says Avery. "So to make it accessible and actionable we've cut it this year in three ways: trends (patterns over time); shifts (salient changes) and; our global standing (how Toronto compares to other global cities.)"

Toronto's Vital Signs is relied on by funders, policy makers, planners, academics and philanthropists to inform data-based decision-making. For the first time, Toronto Foundation will release a companion report in November specifically for philanthropists. "We want Vital Signs to be a call to action for city builders and city-building philanthropists," Avery explains.

Trends

Environment: Since the first Toronto's Vital Signs Report in 2001, air quality has improved. Greenhouse gas emissions have declined 24% since 1990.

Gap Between Rich and Poor: Toronto is the child poverty capital of Canada amongst Canada's large cities, with rates consistently between 27% and 32% since 1997. And Toronto holds five of the 15 federal ridings (2013) with the highest rates of child poverty in the country.

Health & Wellness: Obesity and youth obesity, in particular, have been steadily on the rise (adult up 32% between 2003 and 2014; youth obesity up from 20-27% between 2005 and 2014.)

Getting Around: In 2006, 44% of Torontonians chose to walk, bike or take transit to work increasing to 47% in 2011, but the percentage of school children using active transportation to get to and from school has decreased significantly over 25 years.

Shifts

Work: The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.7% in 2015 from 9.5% in 2014. Youth unemployment remains high but it dropped significantly to 15.5% in 2015 from 21.7% in 2014.

Gap Between Rich and Poor: Hunger is shifting from downtown to the inner suburbs where food bank visits have gone up 48% since 2008.

Housing: The number of households on the active waitlist for affordable housing is up 8.4% to 84,856 families and individuals and 18% fewer were housed in 2015 over 2014.

Our Global Standing

Toronto's Vital Signs contains more global comparative data than ever before. In many catch-all rankings Toronto performs well:

  • Toronto ranks as the best place to live among 50 global cities
  • Toronto ranks first among 35 global cities on youth opportunities
  • Toronto ranks 5th among 24 global metropolitan areas on prosperity

 

A more nuanced picture emerges when we drill down on specific measures of quality of life:

Learning: In 2015, 59% of the Toronto Region's population had a post-secondary education, up from 55% in 2010, and higher than Melbourne, Boston, London, Amsterdam and Los Angeles.

Housing: Toronto's homeless rate is 30% higher than London's and 14% higher than Amsterdam's.

Getting Around: Torontonians take four times more public transit trips per capita than people who live in Los Angeles but less than half as many as residents in London.

Environment: We have almost double the rate of greenhouse gas emissions of London, a third more than Amsterdam but half of the rate of Los Angeles.

Read the full report.

About Toronto Foundation
Established in 1981, Toronto Foundation is one of 191 Community Foundations in Canada. We pool philanthropic dollars and facilitate charitable donations for maximum community impact. Our individual, family and organizational Funds number more than 500 and we administer more than $400 million in assets. Through the Vital Toronto Fund, we engage in city building, mobilizing people and resources to increase the quality of life in Toronto.

SOURCE Toronto Foundation

Video with caption: "Video: Highlights from the Report with Sharon Avery, President & CEO of Toronto Foundation.". Video available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jnGbYZNWfs

Image with caption: "Toronto Foundation (CNW Group/Toronto Foundation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20161004_C7910_PHOTO_EN_787638.jpg



For further information: Julia Howell, VP, Communications & Marketing, Toronto Foundation, 416-402-4274, jhowell@torontofoundation.ca

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www.torontofoundation.ca

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