REALITY CHECK: Vital Signs, Greater Victoria’s 2016 annual checkup, needs improvements
The question, ‘Does the 11th consecutive community checkup Vital Signs by the Victoria Foundation reflect the reality of Greater Victoria?’, must be asked.
The survey takes 12 main issues from Arts and Culture to standard of living – the ‘economy’ section is cursory – and assigns a grade from A to F. This year the economy, housing and transportation received the lowest grades with an average performance. Overall the quality of life was viewed a very good B+.
But readers of this survey should be aware of major weaknesses in this benchmark and much-heralded report – lack of randomness, plus, gender, employment, residence, income bias and skewed results. Source data is often undated and not necessarily current.
The methodology qualifies how accurate the data is from the online survey, and adds it’s based on ‘self-selected respondents.’ So if you are not online or interested in the topic, you are not part of the survey by NRG Research Group.
For starters, seventy-one per cent of the survey participants were female, hardly representative of the 48/52 population split in Victoria. (Are males not caregivers or volunteers? Of the 31 large, prominent photos in the glossy magazine, only four males are shown).
Twenty-four per cent were retired, again not representative of the Victoria public (20% aged 65 plus).
Most participants live in the City of Victoria (44%) and Saanich (24%), This compares to the actual percentage of the Greater Victoria population living in the City of Victoria (22%) and Saanich (29%), as reported by BC Stats.
Judging by the household income of participants compared to the income of the general population reported by Stats Canada, more respondents are wealthier and fewer are poorer.
In sum, the Victoria Foundation, a non-profit group which has invested $158-million in local charitable and educational projects since 1936, offers a very useful but unscientific insight into our community. It must strengthen the methodology of Vital Signs by adding telephone interviews, street interviews or other means to better reflect Greater Victoria’s vitality and reality.