Richmond Community Profile by the United Way of the Lower Mainland

UWLM logo Change Starts Here logobc211 partnered with United Way of the Lower Mainland to support the development of a Richmond Community Profile, a comprehensive report released December 15th 2015.

The Community Profile breaks down population, economic and social statistics in 14 Richmond neighbourhoods and shows that Richmond’s population has grown by 50 per cent over the past two decades, and that 60 per cent of Richmond residents were born outside of Canada.

The United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) Community Profile of Richmond

is the second of a series that UWLM is publishing across the Lower Mainland. These are intended to dive deep into a community and its current socio-demographic profile.

In the profile, we examined Population, Economic, and Social indicators. These were our focus because in social services planning, we need to know who our population is, where they live, and what their strengths and needs are. Noting community trends tells us the good news, gives us interesting comparisons to other local municipalities, and tells us where we may need to sit up and pay attention.

As an added feature, we also included some data on calls handled by bc211, from Richmond residents. It was not previously explored and may help further inform funders, planners and providers.

UWLM Richmond_Profile_Title detail

Richmond Community Profile Highlights

(click here to view the full report online)

  • Richmond has experienced 50 per cent growth between 1991 and 2011 – less than the City of Surrey – but more than Metro Vancouver and the other comparison municipalities, including Burnaby and the City of Vancouver.
  • Richmond’s population is projected to grow from 190,473 in 2011 to 275,000 by 2041 – a growth rate of 44 per cent.
  • In every Richmond community, the 35 to 64 – parenting/working age group is the largest; but the population composition trends will be changing:
  • In 2011, about 23 per cent of Richmond’s population was in the 50 to 64 age cohort, and these 44,000 people are expected to retire in the next five to ten years.
  • As a community’s population proportions change – so do age-appropriate infrastructure, community program, and service needs; for example:
    • Communities with higher numbers of children need a sufficient number of schools, day care, and after-school care.
    • The job market becomes more important as the younger population graduates from school into the work force.
    • Seniors need access to retirement programs, medical facilities and home care.
  • One reason for population growth is new residents coming into a community:
    • Almost 60 per cent of the total population are immigrants who have made Richmond home, with a high of 71 per cent in the neighbourhoods of City Centre and West Cambie.
    • This also translates into the same non-English speaking population proportions, with 60 per cent not speaking English as a first language, and Mandarin and Cantonese making up 34.7 per cent of languages spoken in the home.
  • Richmond’s median family income is lower than all the comparison municipalities at $69,500 (compared to the high of $80,000 in Metro Vancouver).
  • This is important in light of the per cent of income that housing takes up. In terms of household spending on housing costs like rent, Richmond has the most people spending more than the recommended 30 per cent of their income on rent compared to the other municipalities. 47.5 per cent of renter households in Richmond spend 30 per cent or more of their income on shelter costs.
  • This translates into less for these people to spend on other daily necessities such as food, transportation, clothing or things to help them improve their lives – like further education and training, recreation, etc.
  • Looking at another housing factor in Richmond, vacancy rates in the rental market are much lower than recommended (three per cent), at 1.6 per cent total vacancy rate in 2014, with a zero per cent vacancy rate for family-sized rentals of three bedrooms or more and almost no two-bedroom rentals. This makes it much more difficult for families who cannot afford to buy, to rent in Richmond.

bc211 Call Data

Looking at the demographics of bc211 callers from Richmond, the reasons they call and the types of referrals bc211 made gives some insight into the issues Richmond residents are dealing with.

  • The top three reasons for calls by Richmond residents were housing and homelessness (29 per cent), mental health (nine per cent) and substance abuse (nine per cent).These were followed closely by gambling and abuse – both at eight per cent of the total calls. Of the calls around housing and homelessness:
    • 82 per cent were for immediate shelter needs
    • 18 per cent for housing information.

UWLM Richmond_Profile_Cover shotWhat is UWLM doing in Richmond?

  • UWLM knows that with the changes seen in these communities, the social safety net has also evolved over the same period. This has occurred, in part, because UWLM is investing almost 1.3 million donor dollars this year alone in effective community-based programs and services and because UWLM continues to work in partnership with public partners, like the City of Richmond.
  • A spotlight investment in Richmond is the Early Years Refugee Project – a program tailored to help refugee children and their families. The early childhood program recognizes the unique needs of refugee children and their families and is offered in six Lower Mainland communities including Richmond.

This Community Profile summary was provided by Mary Ellen Schaafsma. Mary Ellen joined the United Way of the Lower Mainland as the Director of Research and Product Development in September 2014. Since she joined, she has focused on building a high functioning unit that researches community and social issues to guide investment decisions. Mary Ellen acts as a knowledge resource to UWLM’s partners, and ensures the compelling stories and impact of the work UWLM funds inspires our donors and stakeholders. Before coming to the United Way, Mary Ellen lived in Ottawa and was the Executive Director of the Canadian Cochrane Centre, a health care research and knowledge transfer organization. Over her career, she has worked in many areas of health and social services including: mental health, people with disabilities, children’s rehabilitation, and hospital care.