Vital Signs: COVID-19 Pandemic Brings Big Changes to How Residents Perceive Region

Victoria, BC – In Greater Victoria, 51 per cent of residents have felt a decline in their mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 29 per cent have experienced a job or income loss, according to the Victoria Foundation’s 2020 Victoria’s Vital Signs report released today.

In our community, and around the world, 2020 has been a year unlike any other in living memory. From the COVID-19 pandemic, to the worldwide movement for racial justice, to the immense shifts and disruptions in our daily lives, 2020 stands alone.

These challenges have resulted in significant changes in how residents here perceive our region, evidenced by the results of the report.

“While we’ve been fortunate in our community to avoid the worst possible outcomes,” said Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson, “these monumental events and movements have exposed and deepened many of the shortcomings in our society that have long been here.”

This year nearly 1,800 residents in our region took part in a survey, the results of which are combined with significant data and statistics to offer a snapshot of how our region is faring in 12 key issue areas and overall. This year’s survey also included specific COVID-19-related questions and the report itself features Pandemic Snapshots, offering evidence-based insights on the impact of COVID-19 on our region.

Along with a decline in mental health, 40 per cent of respondents have felt a decline in their physical health. Data in the report also reveals that 34 per cent of jobs for residents under 25 years old disappeared between February and May of this year, with young women having it especially hard, experiencing a 41 per cent drop in employment, compared to 27 per cent for their male peers. Overall, 74 per cent of respondents feel the pandemic is a major threat to the local economy.

The overall quality of life, as graded by survey respondents, has dropped from 2019 from a B+ to a B, and out of the 12 key issue areas the report focuses on, nine have seen a change in grade from 2019. This follows two consecutive years without a single change in grades. The most drastic of these changes is for the issue area of Getting Started, which looks at how our community fares in offering opportunities to newcomers and young people. Earning a grade of B- in 2019, it has this year fallen to a D+, tying it with Housing as the lowest graded area.

Also of significance, when asked to identify the most important issues facing our region, survey respondents picked Homelessness as the Number 3 priority, behind only Cost of Living and Housing. In 2019 Homelessness was identified as only the eighth most important issue. The top three best things about Greater Victoria remain the same from 2019, with Natural Environment, Climate and Air Quality taking the top spots.

This year marks the 15th edition of Victoria’s Vital Signs, and its publication is made possible with the support of presenting sponsor Coast Capital Savings. The magazine-style final report includes a feature story on the continuing community response to COVID-19, a focus on how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals relate to each issue area, comment from survey respondents, and more. The publication is available at various locations throughout the community, as well as online at

See the full media release here.