Health and social outcomes are directly linked to economic outcomes. They contribute to quality of life, attract investment, and allow the population to live up to its creative and productive potential.
- Total and violent crime rates continued to fall in 2014, both of which are down over 50% compared to the peak in the mid-2000s and are at their lowest level on record. Total crime rates in Halifax have fallen slightly below the national average; however, violent crime remains somewhat above the national average.
- Halifax’s per capita personal income grew by 2.5% in 2015, the third fastest among benchmark cities and outpacing increases in the cost of living. Revisions to publicly available data for Halifax on Statistics Canada’s CANSIM database now make it more difficult to track poverty levels in the city. However, when last reported in 2012, 16.3% of people in Halifax lived in households below the “market basket measure” of low income.
- Halifax residents reported relatively strong perceptions of physical health in 2014, with a somewhat higher percentage reporting “very good” or “excellent” health (62% vs 59% nationally). Halifax residents were more likely to report leading active lifestyles and less likely to report lifestyle-related health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. However, they were less likely than the average Canadian to report having a regular medical doctor.
- Halifax saw a considerable pick up in voter turnout in the 2015 federal election compared to that of 2011. Seventy-two per cent of eligible voters turned out in October compared to 62% four years earlier.
- Average employment in arts, culture, recreation, and sport in Halifax declined in 2015 to 6,500. On the positive side, average wages in the sector increased 11%.
Living affordability has perhaps the single-largest impact on quality of life, determining our ability to attract students, young professionals, and immigrants as well as determining the standard of living available to Halifax families. The cost of living and the average level of income are the flip sides of the affordability coin. A strategy to increase living affordability in Halifax must include both cost-control and income-growth strategies.