Vital Signs

Our 2020 Vital Signs Report

Vital Signs is an annual check-up conducted by community foundations to measure the vitality of communities across Canada. It gathers and publishes data on significant social and economic trends and offers analysis in areas critical to quality of life. The Community Foundation North Okanagan participates in Vital Signs to provide a far-reaching and critical perspective on the state of the community in our region – Vernon, Coldstream, Lumby, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, and Enderby.


We have a growing population, close to 90,000 citizens in the North Okanagan region. As we see more people calling this area home it becomes even more important for us to understand how the increased rental and housing costs or the changing economy and workforce affects individuals and families. The Community Foundation has been leading the Vital Signs program to compile and track local data overtime and works towards convening community led organizations to inspire action around our most critical issues.


By providing a snapshot of the North Okanagan in 10 critical issue areas plus a new section on community participation & contribution, the 2020 Vital Signs report offers a unique and accessible way to learn more about this place we all call home.

It is a starting point to engage us in a meaningful conversation that will inform the Community Foundation’s giving and granting decisions and serve as a guide towards making our communities better places to live, work, and play.

We hope the 2020 Vital Signs report provides you with information that grows your awareness of the issues and significant trends in the North Okanagan. We invite funders, community leaders, and everyday philanthropists to embrace your power and the role we each play as we move forward on this journey together.

How are North Okanagan residents making a difference in their communities?

In June 2019, the Vancouver Foundation partnered with Mustel Research to investigate the state of community participation across the province. Nearly 8,000 British Columbians were surveyed, including 446 from the North Okanagan. We’re pleased to share our region’s survey results. For provincial results, please visit the Vancouver Foundation’s Vital Signs website.

1. North Okanagan residents are engaged in their community.
Volunteering and financial giving are evolving. Some traditional forms of social participation are waning (for example, some service clubs are facing declining membership), but residents make their voices known online, in local government processes, and in support of issues they care about.
2. There are many different ways to contribute, from social media advocacy to neighbourhood-level organizing to local government participation to one-time or ongoing gifts of time and/or money.
It may not be reasonable to expect long-term financial and time commitments, from residents who are offered many different ways to contribute both time and money.
3. Volunteering and community participation are influenced by financial and time pressures.
Survey data demonstrates that single parents, those from households making $80,000 or less, and renters are the most interested in being more involved in their community but also face financial and time barriers – perhaps working multiple jobs or shouldering more responsibilities at home.
4. Social participation is more likely when individuals have a personal connection to an issue or organization.
When respondents were asked why they volunteered and why they make financial donations, a personal connection to the issue/organization was one of the most cited reasons. This may present an opportunity to organizations looking to further engage community members.
5. There are many different ways to fundraise, and having many options increases the likelihood of citizen participation.
Residents were polled about the different ways they have made financial donations in the past year, and were given 14-different response options. We are asked to give online, by friends, by neighbours, at cash registers, and in many other ways. Matching the right giving venue to the right person may be a key to fundraising success.

Learn more about the various ways people are contributing to their communities across the entire Okanagan – read the Vital Signs Community Clusters report for Vernon, Kelowna, Penticton, and the extended area.

Past Reports

2017 North Okanagan Vital Signs – Expanded Report
2017 North Okanagan Vital Signs

2013 North Okanagan Vital Signs

2011 North Okanagan Vital Signs

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