Welcome! Nova Scotia’s Vital Signs® provides a portrait, in numbers, of Nova Scotia society. Drawing from several authoritative sources, these “vital signs” describe, in a national context, how Nova Scotians are doing in terms of income, demographics, health, security, learning, environment and overall life satisfaction, among other indicators.
Why does it matter? It matters because a well-founded understanding of where we are is the first essential step in getting to where we want to be. It matters because an informed citizenry is a prerequisite for constructive community action. And it matters simply because these vital signs will spark our curiosity – why are we behind on this, or ahead on that? These questions will stimulate us to look behind the numbers: to understand the “whys” and not just the “whats.”
With these province-wide vital signs as a roadmap, the next step is to zoom in on a particular county or community – turning up the resolution on the statistical microscope, as it were. In fact, the present provincial-level project was motivated by two earlier Vital Signs® studies led by Community Funds in Wolfville and Lunenburg County. These two communities discovered many surprising and important things about themselves. More importantly, both are now using what they learned to work collaboratively with others at the local level to effect positive social change. Over time, this can be repeated throughout the province.
The “vital signs” you will find recorded here are just “numbers”. It is not the purpose of this document to analyze these data and to explain their causes and their significance. They are signs along the road. It is up to Nova Scotians to discover where they lead!