Vibrant Economy

Credit: Picture BC

Vibrant economies contribute to the health and well-being of people and communities by providing economic security and access to opportunities. This includes access to education and living wage employment, affordable housing, healthy food, and the kinds of services and amenities that promote strong and healthy families and vibrant and sustainable communities.

What is this issue about?

A vibrant economy supports a mix of economic activities and promotes economic security by enabling:

  • access to living-wage1 employment and economic opportunities
  • participation in the labour market for all members of society
  • access to basic necessities, including safe and affordable housing, healthy food, education, and social and recreational opportunities

Why is a vibrant economy important to health and well-being?

There is a significant relationship between income and health. Research shows that individuals with lower incomes frequently have poorer health outcomes and diminished access to opportunities. They can also have a greater sense of financial vulnerability and be at increased risk of poverty and exclusion.

The BC Healthy Living Alliance estimates that there are a number of major risk factors associated with poverty and health inequity, including higher levels of tobacco use, reduced physical activity, and increased obesity. In addition, higher levels of food insecurity, chronic or preventable diseases, and stress are associated with poverty and low income.

By creating the conditions for a vibrant economy – which provides for increased economic security and financial sustainability – it is possible to contribute to positive individual and social outcomes such as improved access to basic necessities (food, clothing, housing) as well as access to the types of social, economic, recreational, and educational opportunities needed to promote individual health and well-being.

Did You Know?

  • Unemployed individuals were 1.5 times more likely to report a mental illness within a 12-month period compared to those who are employed.i
  • Women in B.C. in the lowest income group were three times as likely, and men twice as likely, to suffer from heart disease when compared to the highest income group.ii

Why do vibrant economies matter for local governments?

Vibrant economies engender healthy communities where residents enjoy a high quality of life. Working with senior levels of government, local governments can promote increased economic security and access to opportunities by:

  • promoting access to opportunities through job training, asset building, health education, and outreach
  • developing local action plans that increase economic and social integration while addressing economic and social exclusion, and that promote economic security through access to living-wage jobs, transit, and affordable housing
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1 A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet basic needs such as shelter, clothing, and nutrition.

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