Graham Hicks, Hicks on Six Blog, Edmonton SUN
October 3, 2009
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The Edmonton Social Planning Council's Tracking The Trends
In the Sunday Oct. 4 Hicks on Six, we dedicate the entire column to the good news within the semi-annual report on the city's social and economic trends from the Edmonton Social Planning Council.
The neat thing is the council started this project in 1989, and have managed, through thick and thin funding-wise, to keep it going for 20 years. So we have some real good data going back at least 20 years. And where the researchers have found acceptable data going further back in town, they have not hesitated to incorporate longer time lines.
To see the actual graphs, click on this link, The Edmonton Social Planning Council and follow the directions from there.
As mentioned in the column, they won't give you all the info free over the Internet, but you can order the entire report for a reasonable $30 or so.
The next three postings on the blog are all aspects of the report I didn't have room to write about in Sunday's column.
Social trends from the Edmonton Social Planning Council's Tracking the Trends: Under-weight babies
Public health officials put much emphasis on the number of low-weight babies at birth as an indicator of a communities over-all health.
This is the one trends in the Edmonton Social Council's Tracking The Trends report for 2009 that is not good.
Low-weight babies have grown from 5.4% of all babies born in 1993 to an expected 7.1% today.
An intereting one for the experts to explain. One wonders if the fact that more women are having babies in their late '30s or older could affect birth weight.
The Social Planning Council Report: The rocketing value of homes and cost of renting
We all know how house prices and rents emerged from a long stagnancy about four years ago, and have since taken off. But it's fun to look at the actual numbers as reported in the Social Planning Council's Tracking The Trends 2009.
The average monthly rent in Greater Edmonton for a two bedroom apartment never wavered from 1992 (as far back as this study goes) to 2000, staying at between $500 to $600 a month.
From 2000 to 2002, it snuck up to $700, hung in there until 2005, then did the great march upward, $800 in 2006, $900 by 2007, $1000 by 2008 and is now projected to stay in the $1050 a month range through 2010. The vacancy rate still remains at a level that makes landlords a little happy, on other side of 4%.
Then there's the greatest rising graph in the whole report, the average residential selling price for Greater Edmonton.
1984, $70,000; 1994 $110,000; 2004, $170,000; 2005, $200,000; 2006, $250,000; 2007, $340,000 ...
Then the gentle slippage when the air was slighly let out of the bubble, 2008, $330,000; 2009 $320,000.
What we all forget is that Edmonton lagged behind most Canadian cities all through the '80s and '90s. Even today, our house prices are lower than Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa.
Edmonton's immigration trends
The Edmonton Social Planning Council's Tracking The Trends 2009 report says The number of permanent immigrants settling in Edmonton per year has doubled in the last 10 years, steadily climbing from 3,800 in 1998 to 7,500 in 2008.
About one-fifth of the total regional population in the 2006 census - about 200,000 individuals - have a "mother tongue" other than French or English.
In other words, they speak their native tongue with fellow ethnic Edmontonians and their families. This would not count second-generation kids who never learned their parent's language. For them, their mother tongue is English.
How that one-fifth breaks down:
About 39,000 speak Chinese; 18,000 German; 16,000 Ukrainian; 14,000 Punjabi; 10,000 Filipino (Tagalog is the language); 10,000 Polish; 10,000 Spanish; 8,000 Arabic, 8,000 Vietnamese, and all other about 65,000.
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