Details from Past Social Assessments

A Community Social Assessment aims to create a snapshot in time of a community's social well-being and vitality - our strengths, assets and opportunities, along with our issues and challenges. This picture helps us to determine how to best direct support and close existing gaps. It also serves as an incentive to encourage new thinking and action to respond to opportunities and issues alike.

The compilation of the 2018 Community Social Assessment has been close to a year-long project. This is the third iteration of the Assessment, with the first being published in late 2006 and the second in 2014. These past two documents have helped to guide decisions related to policy, programs and services in the municipality, and community at large, and have also created a baseline on which to analyze change in the community over time.

In order to support community well-being, it is crucial to have a detailed understanding of the social picture of one's community.

2018 Community Social Assessment

 Top 5 strength/asset themes identified in the 2018 Community Social Assessment

  • Small Town Community Feel
  • Appreciation of Nature and Environmental Stewardship
  • Quality and Variety of Services, Amenities and Programs
  • Abundant Work Availability
  • Population Diversity

 Top 5 challenge themes identified in the 2018 Community Social Assessment

  • Cost of Living
  • Living Where the World Visits
  • Community Wellness
  • Places and Spaces for Socialization and Recreation
  • Shared Understanding


Next Steps
Within each of the challenge themes identified in the report, while the report has provided some high level areas of focus, further recommendations and specific approaches and plans of action can be developed either annually or by topic and can be adopted by various organizations, groups, and members of the business community as well.

There are many positive things happening in Banff on which to leverage. It is expected that the strengths that were identified by residents will continue to be fostered and supported through the array of existing programs, services, supports delivered by the Town, and numerous local organizations and partners.

As with the previous assessment, time will be spent sharing the findings of the report with community groups and organizations and an executive summary document highlighting the primary findings will be produced and distributed to a wider audience than perhaps the document itself would be. Previous years reports have acted as a catalyst for a series of actions that have benefited the community, and it is anticipated that this report will function in the same manner. It is the hope of the authors of this report that positive changes will occur in the community as a result.

The next federal census will be conducted in 2021, with the expectation that most data would be released by the fall of 2023. It is suggested that the next iteration of the Banff Social Assessment be conducted to once again, coincide with the release of this data. The proposed completion date for the next community social assessment would be during the first quarter of 2024, five years from now.

 Past Assessments

The 2018 Community Social Assessment has told us a lot about our town, the people who live here, and the things we want for the future. By using information residents told us during the community conversations, and demographic information from Statistics Canada, we can better plan programs and services for the future.

Here's what we learned from the report:

Details from the 2018 Social Assessment

Figure 3.3.jpgWe're not as young as we used to be

The average Banffite is now 35 years old. Our median age used to be 29, but has gone up in recent years. People aged 20 to 29 make up less of our population (dropping from 28% to 23%, from 2006 to 2016) and people aged 50+ make up a bigger portion of our population (going up from 19% to 25%, from 2006 to 2016). People aged 30 to 49 are the largest population group in our community with 36%.

We didn't all come here for the mountains

A growing number of people are coming to Banff for jobs, not mountain sports. It's a change we're seeing as demographics change. Also, business hiring strategies are targeting people from different parts of the world, who don't tend to participate in mountain sports.

We want more places to socialize

Indoor and outdoor community hubs are in demand by all sectors of our population. People want to have more indoor activities and places to hang out in the winter, and more neighbourhood outdoor picnic and BBQ spaces in the summer.

Housing continues to be a challenge

It's still difficult to find a place to live in Banff, and one-third of our households spend approximately 30% of their total income on housing costs. As of 2017, our rental property vacancy rate is 0.6%. A healthy rate is between 3% and 5%. Vacancy rates for 2018 are still being compiled, so it's too early to tell if initiatives like Ti'nu, the Town's new 131-unit apartment complex, have had any impact on rental vacancy rates.

Spending in excess of 30 percent of incomefigure 3.38.jpg

Single moms make less money than single dads 

Single moms in Banff make approx. $19,000 less than single dads. It's the biggest gender/income disparity in our community. It's important to be aware of this statistic, because 75% of all lone parent households in Banff are led by women. This kind of imbalance is seen almost everywhere, so Banff is no different than other communities in this respect.

Overall, there isn't much of a gender/income difference in Banff

Total income characteristics of couplesDespite the gap in pay between single moms and dads, overall Banff has the least amount of gender/income difference when compared with other resort communities, the province, and the country. In Banff, you're more likely to see equal incomes across genders, and a larger percentage of couples (18%) where the woman makes more money. However, typically men still make more money than women.

We're a generous community

Charitable giving is important to Banffites. In 2016, we donated over $1.7 million (as reported on taxes), up from $1.6 million in 2011. Of that amount, $1.1 million was donated by people earning over $80,000 per year, and $453,700 was donated by those earning between $20,000 and $60,000 per year. On average, Banffites claimed $360 in charitable donations on taxes. The national average is $300 per person.

Charitable Donationsfigure 3.33.jpg


We're highly educated

Banffites have a lot of formal education – much higher than the provincial and national average. Looking at Banff residents 25 years and older, 73% have a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree. The average in Alberta for that age range is 55%, and nation-wide, it's 65%. Seeking higher education is a trend we've seen over time. From 2006-2016, the number of people 25 and over with a university degree or diploma has increased from 27% to 35%.

The environment is very important to us

There's a huge sense of pride for our community's high standards in environmental stewardship. Residents want to maintain these high standards for the environment, wildlife conservation, renewable energy, plastic use and waste management. There's also a desire to share these values with the visitors to our community.

Older people are working more, younger people are working less

The employment rate for residents 15 to 24 years old has dropped frofigure 3.44.jpgm 86% to 72% over a 10-year period from 2006 to 2016. For seniors (aged 65+) the employment rate has gone up – from 19% to 27%. For those 25 to 64 years of age, the employment rate has remained stable over the past 10 years at 89%.

A third of us were born in another country

Around 34% of Banff's total Immigrant populationspopulation is made up of people born in another country. The top five countries of origin are the Philippines, Japan, the UK, India, and South Korea. Tagalog is the more predominate non-official language spoken at home by immigrants.

It can be hard living in a tourist town

Residents spoke about how busy life was in Banff and how there was no downtime or "shoulder season" anymore. There's a general sense people are working more and struggling with lower paying jobs. It seemed to be affecting the quality of life and sense of belonging. Residents expressed concern about traffic congestion and the need to educate visitors more about wildlife, recycling and waste management.

Ultimately, we love our community

Despite the challenges of living in Banff, overall residents expressed their love for the town, mountain environment and numerous "big city" amenities available in the area (transit, museums, Banff Centre) that still had a "small town" feeling (walkability, safety, friendliness). People are also very happy with the programs and services available locally, and that they're better informed about what's happening in town.