October 4, 2016 3:02 pm
Updated: October 4, 2016 5:30 pm

Pets outnumber kids & 9 other facts from 2016 Edmonton Vital Signs report

The Edmonton skyline

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The 2016 Edmonton Vital Signs report has been released and it comes with several interesting facts about the Capital City.

Edmonton Vital Signs is an annual report that provides a snapshot of the city, with a focus on one specific topic. This year’s report focused on Edmonton’s immigrant and refugee population, but it also detailed a number of other statistics. (See full report below).

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Here are 10 of the most interesting facts to come from this year’s report:

Edmonton has more pets than kids

As of August 2016, there were more pets living in Edmonton than kids. There were 195,243 cats and dogs in the city, which is more than the 189,598 people under the age of 19 who call Edmonton home. The city estimates that one in three households has a pet and many have more than one animal.

Edmonton has more women than men

With a population of nearly 900,000, Edmonton is home to 463,472 females and 434,763 males. Of those, 123,109 are school-aged kids from preschool to Grade 12.

Edmonton isn’t a great city for women

For the last two years, Edmonton has appeared on the Centre for Police Alternatives’ list of the worst places in Canada to be a woman. In fact, Edmonton was second-to-last on the list last year.

Despite having the highest per capita income in Canada, the gap that exists in Alberta when it comes to men and women’s employment levels and incomes is among the largest of the cities measured. Sixty-two per cent of low wage workers in Edmonton are women.

READ MORE: Second-worst city in Canada to be a woman is Edmonton: report

Edmonton is the youngest city

Of the six largest urban centres in Canada, Edmonton is the youngest with a median age of 36 years. Here’s how the rest of the large urban centres stack up:

  • Calgary – median age of 36.3
  • Toronto – median age of 38.8
  • Ottawa-Gatineau – median age of 39.3
  • Montreal – median age of 39.8
  • Vancouver – median age of 40

Record school enrolment growth

Edmonton public and Catholic schools are experiencing record school enrolment. The Edmonton Public School Board has seen a 15.8 per cent increase in enrolment from 2010 to 2016. The Edmonton Catholic School District has seen an 18.7 per cent increase in enrolment in the same time frame.

It’s anticipated there will be 95,355 students enrolled in Edmonton public schools this year and 40,870 students in Catholic schools.

EI numbers on the rise

The number of people receiving employment insurance benefits in Edmonton has gone up by 117.9 per cent since Alberta’s economy took a turn for the worse at the end of 2014.

Affordable housing wait list has tripled

The economic downturn has had a “profound impact” on the number of Edmontonians waiting for affordable housing. Capital Region Housing, the major community housing provider in the region, saw its wait list more than triple over the course of the 2015 calendar year.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, 4,263 families were waiting for accommodation and 231 new applications were being received each month.

Public transit usage is on the decline

Despite an ongoing push by the City of Edmonton to get more commuters using public transportation, the number of people taking the bus or LRT has dropped each year for the last two years.

Annual ridership on ETS buses and trains dropped by 600,000 in 2015 and is on track to drop by a similar amount by the end of 2016. The decrease comes after growing ridership each year from 2005 to 2014.

Jennifer Laraway, a spokesperson with Edmonton Transit, said a decline in ridership is not unusual during an economic slowdown and “transit ridership is down in most cities across the country.”

READ MORE: ‘Don’t let idiots build your transit’: Reporter rips into Edmonton’s Metro LRT Line

According to the 2016 municipal census, 78.6 per cent of people drive to work, while 13.7 per cent of people take transit.

Food bank usage has spiked

From April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2016 Edmonton’s Food Bank served 51,815 different people. This is an 18.3 per cent increase from the year before, and 28.3 per cent higher than two years ago.

Edmonton men are more active than Edmonton women

Eighty-two per cent of Edmontonians take part in some sort of sports activities. Men (45 per cent) are more likely than woman (27 per cent) to be actively involved in sports.

Those with higher incomes are also more likely to participate in sport.

  • Less than $30,000 – 18 per cent
  • $31,000 to $60,000 – 30 per cent
  • $61,000 to $80,000- 39 per cent
  • Greater than $80,000 – 43 per cent

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Graphic by Tonia Huynh.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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