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Gap between rich and poor getting wider in South Okanagan-Similkameen: Vital Signs report

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October 10, 2015 - 1:00 PM

PENTICTON - The third annual Vital Signs report has given the South Okanagan-Similkameen failing grades when it comes to jobs, affordable housing and the gap between the rich and poor.

The report is produced by the Community Foundation of Okanagan-Similkameen and studies 11 issues in an attempt to define the overall health and wellbeing of the region’s communities. 

The Community Foundations of Canada and the Centre for the Study of Living Standards helped collect the statistics, according to the report. Statistics Canada date was also used, along surveys filled out by 1,500 people.

Failing grades were issued for:

Housing (D-)

Gap Between Rich and Poor (D+)

Work (D+)

Lack of affordable housing units and the high cost of ownership continue to have a negative impact on communities in the Okanagan and Similkameen, the report says.

Penticton’s median, after tax income, was $34,160, which is up from 2010, but still below the B.C. average of $37,180. The city had an average of 979 employment insurance beneficiaries per month in 2014.

Passing grades were issued for:

Arts and Culture (A)

Belonging and Leadership (B-)

Safety (A-)

Getting Around (B+)

Environment (B+)

Getting Started (B-)

The survey found the following trends in the region:
- There’s an abundance of arts and cultural activities, but there are cost barriers. Visits to the region’s libraries declined for both Okanagan Regional Library and Penticton Library.
- Crime rates are lower than the national average and are declining in the region.
- Transit ridership declined to 418,366 riders last year compared to 430,000 in 2012/13.
- Residents are using less water, down to 502 litres per capita, daily, from a high of 589 in 2009.
- Twenty-five per cent of the net population growth in the South Okanagan-Similkameen is made up of newcomers to Canada.

To view the complete document go to the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan-Similkameen webpage.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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