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Community

SENSE OF BELONGING

 Halifax residents’ sense of belonging improved in 2011 and the gap from the national average increased. 68.4% of residents expressed a “somewhat” or “very strong” sense of belonging to the community, third highest among benchmark cities and 3.6% above the national average.   


LIFE SATISFACTION

Further, Halifax residents’ life satisfaction was relatively stable – the percentage of people who consider themselves “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with life remained high at 93.3% in 2011.That said, with increases in St. John’s and Regina, Halifax dropped from second to tie for third among its benchmark cities.

 

VOTER TURNOUT

Of concern is the relative stagnation of voter rates, particularly in municipal elections in 2012. Despite the introduction of e-voting technology that, in theory, would remove time and geographic barriers, the percentage of eligible voters who actually voted increased by only 0.8% from 2008 to 36.9%. The number of eligible voters increased by 6.8% between 2008 and 2012, slightly above population growth of 5.3% for that period, but that increase does not help to explain why so few voters cast ballots in 2012.

SENSE OF BELONGING TO LOCAL COMMUNITY
SOMEWHAT OR VERY STRONG
Source: Statistics Canada

COMMUNITY_GRAPH1 

Further, with both provincial and municipal voter turnouts declining over the past 10 years, and the second lowest federal election turnout among benchmark cities in 2011, a trend of declining democratic activity should be better understood to ensure Halifax residents continue to engage with the political direction of the city. 

While the number of municipal polling districts decreased from 24 to 16 in 2012, the number of candidates offering increased from 56 to 66 from 2008 to 2012. Further, all races were contested in 2012 – up from 83% in 2008 and likely the result of the decrease in polling districts.

 

CHARITABLE CONTRIBUTIONS

The proportion of tax filers who claim charitable contributions remained stable at 24.9% in 2011. This proportion was again the . Median charitable contributions in 2011 were $310, unchanged from 2010, and again tying for second highest behind Victoria’s $390. 

Ultimately, a greater understanding of why voter turnout rates are so low may help to frame future community engagement strategies and to ensure that community needs are realized into the future.

 

PERCENTAGE (AGED 12+) SATISFIED OR VERY 
SATISFIED WITH LIFE
Source: Statistics Canada
COMMUNITY_GRAPH2
   COMMUNITY_VOTER_TURNOUT_GRAPH-01
Source: HRM Municipal Clerk's Office

 






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