There are now more seniors than youth in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region, and our population is aging faster than the overall populations for Canada and British Columbia.
Statistics Canada recently released data from the 2016 Census on age and sex of the population. While Basin-Boundary populations are showing certain demographic trends that are common across much of the country, the data shows that there are other issues that are unique to rural places, including the many diverse communities in our region.
This applied research project explored key characteristics, financial and human resources, organizational capacity, social innovation, and organizational connections in the Columbia Basin-Boundary non-profit social sector. The research was an important step towards enabling evidence-based decision-making by our regions’ colleges and Columbia Basin Trust in efforts related to strengthening the sector.
Society and human communities are complex, with a variety of variables at work. While society can be thought of as a broader term describing the direct and indirect social connections between people, community is made up of individuals who are closely connected, often by geography. Community can be defined broadly as “a group of people who live, learn, work, and play in an environment at a given time”.
It is estimated that 4,683,139 people live in British Columbia (BC), of which 3.5% or 162,900 people live in the Columbia Basin-Boundary region.Demographic data, such as population estimates, can not only provide information about the people in a place, but can help inform planning and decision-making. Demographic indicators covered in this trends analysis include:
Education is a key social determinant of health.1 From the early years to adulthood, education is a foundation of healthy personal development. The importance of literacy is well documented, including how literacy matters not only for personal health, educational attainment, and financial security, but for the well-being of a community and health of the economy.2 Education increases overall literacy and understanding of how one can promote one’s own health and well-being, and provides the knowledge and skills needed to actively participate and contribute to society.
Poverty is a significant concern in Canada, with the rate of poverty being the highest among the world’s wealthiest industrialized nations. British Columbia (BC) is frequently cited as having one of the highest rates of poverty in Canada, with 9.9% of the population living in poverty.
Youth are increasingly at a disadvantage in today’s labour market due to an increased emphasis on experience. In rural areas there can be even fewer opportunities for youth and those opportunities that are available can be undesirable (e.g., fewer opportunities, short term contracts, no benefits, low wages), impacting the ability for youth to stay or return. Additionally, inaccessible services and few youth specific services can amplify challenges, as can out-of-date marketing of job opportunities, negative perceptions of youth, and logistical challenges (e.g., transportation).