Vital Signs data is the avenue Community Foundations of Canada and many community foundations choose to take an encompassing view into their communities. This National Vital Signs Report focuses on the extent to which people feel included in, connected to and supported by their communities by delving into three main themes: Belonging, Engagement and Well-being.
The Reconnecting Communities report shares data across the three streams. For example:
- People’s feelings of belonging are going down. A strong sense of belonging has dropped by 12 percentage points since 2013, and 29% of people do not have close friends in their community.
- They are also less engaged. The proportion of people volunteering has declined by 12 percentage points since 2013, and in 2021, only 17.7% of tax filers claimed donations on their income tax returns. This is the lowest percentage ever recorded.
- But people are also resilient; 63% have a high well-being score, giving us hope that our communities can and will recover, supporting each other.
Communities all see the impact of broken connections with friends and family. Communities all face the strains of financial insecurity and discrimination. It’s our opportunity and responsibility to take this data and use it to guide our efforts and activities. At CFC and within our network of 205 community foundations, we know that when people feel like they belong, they are healthier, happier and more engaged. And when people belong, communities flourish.
Andrea Dicks, President, Community Foundations of Canada
This data is a snapshot into the lives of individuals across the country. This gives us each a path forward and a way to understand ourselves and our neighbours better. There is still more research to be done and more people to be reached. Locally, community foundations from coast to coast to coast continue to create comprehensive Vital Signs reports like this each year. They each continue to learn about their communities to support their communities.