Among the bad news in the report is the continuing decline in the city's youth population.
The share of youth aged 15 and under in Greater Sudbury was 14.9 per cent as of July 1, 2011, down 0.2 percentage points from 2010. The proportion was 1.4 percentage points lower than the national rate and 1.6 percentage points lower than the provincial rate.
In 2011, the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 in Greater Sudbury was 15.8 per cent. This was above the national youth unemployment rate of 14.2 per cent and equal to the provincial rate of 15.8 per cent. The youth unemployment rate did see a 1.4 percentage point decrease from 2010.
The city's total population is also declining. On July 1, 2011, Greater Sudbury had a population of 163,048, a decrease of one per cent from 164,680 on July 1, 2010.
“Those are really worrisome trends,” said Carmen Simmons, executive director of the Sudbury Community Foundation. “We've reported on them for a number of years, and we haven't seen that trend reversing. We know it's not an easy thing to do, but we have to as Sudburians grapple with keeping our youth here.”
Sudburians also continue to deal with issues related to poor health. In 2011, the high blood pressure rate for those over the age of 12 was 25.6 per cent, significantly higher than the national and provincial rates, which were 17.6 per cent and 18.1 per cent, respectively.
Our high blood pressure rates also increased 6.5 percentage points from 19.1 per cent in 2010.
In 2011, the obesity rate for the population aged 18 and over was 28.2 per cent, significantly higher than both the national and provincial rates, which were 18.3 per cent and 18.4 per cent, respectively. The 2011 rate is consistent with that reported for 2010.
“But you will be pleased to know that our GDP is on the rise, crime is down and our child poverty rate is low,” Simmons said. “In fact, all of the poverty indicators in the report show poverty in Sudbury is declining. So we're rich enough to be handling all of these problems we've got.”
In 2011, real GDP in Greater Sudbury reached $5,592 million, up 3.9 per cent from its 2010 level. The violent crime rate in Sudbury last year was 1,080 per 100,000 persons, a decrease of 4.1 per cent since 2010.
The rate of child poverty in Greater Sudbury in 2010, based on the low income measure, was 17.9 per cent. This rate is down from 19.1 per cent in 2009.
“The annual Vital Signs report is not just a collection of facts, it's a bellwether of what's happening in our community, and it should be a path to where we can go in the future,” Simmons said.
“My challenge to you today is to read this report with an eye on change. In other words, let's make an impact.”
To read the Vital Signs report in PDF format, visit www.vitalsignssudbury.ca, or contact [email protected] to receive a free copy.