Halifax Regional Municipality
It’s the capital of the Nova Scotia Province in Canada. This paper will be the community profile which will be followed by a succinct comparison of social economic characteristics that have been linked to health status or accessibility or utilization of health services with that of Cape Breton. Halifax is a major economic hub in Canada. The city has been made popular by the concentration of companies and government services which run the city. The high population as will be depicted in this profile will explain the reasons behind its rapid growth.
The population in 2001 was 359, 111 while that in 2006 census was 372, 679. The population increase recorded was 3.8%. The land in square kilometer is 5, 590.08 which translates to a population density of 67.9 individuals per square kilometer (Statistics Canada, 2007a).
The total experienced labor force from the age of 15 is 210 080, with 106580 males and 103505 females. Of the above number, those working in the health care and social services is 24 480 with the value comprising 5000 males and 19 480 females. The value shows that more females are attracted to work in the health sector. However, considering the population of the city and using a health approach to address the problem, one can note that there is a deficit that need to be addressed by having more practitioners in the sector. This number compared with the number of males in business which is 25 825 shows either the sector has low remuneration or the benefits of working there are few. However, in a global city such as Halifax and the thriving business in Northern Canada, business would be a better resort. According to health minister Maureen MacDonald, though the health care spending was increased from $1.7 billion to $3.69 billion, the same problems such as doctor and nurse shortage are prevailing as is seen in the individuals in the health sector (Lynch, 2011).
The number of individuals engaging in unpaid work above the age of 15 was 283 765 based on the 2006 census. This included 131 400 males and 152 365 females. The earnings to persons above 15 years in 2005; - median earnings were $27 225 with the males having $32 797 and the females 22 413. Therefore, looking at the incomes and considering the living standards in a global city such as Halifax, one can note that it’s high. Therefore, accessing high quality medical services will be high. Health disparities are common in Halifax. Looking at the trend to 2012, Halifax County had a population of 54 006 (Halifax County Health Department, 2013).
This is catapulted by the socio economic inequality among the inhabitants. The region both has the populated side and the less populated area. Another reason that has been significant in bringing or bringing about the disparity is the difference in incomes between the different social classes. A normal population in a rapidly growing city is made up of the middle class citizens. Anyone who cannot make to this level will be pushed to the slums or the poor estates where the individuals with low income resort to. A contrast and comparison with Cape Breton will show some of the differences in the two populations that can be used in making and developing of health policies to ensure that all individuals especially in the urban and sub urban regions have access to quality health care. Canada being one of the healthiest countries, it is alarming to find some people living in poor standards or not being in a position to raise and/or finance their medical needs (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2008).
Unlike in Halifax where the population comparison in 2001 and 2006 show a 3.8% increase, Cape Breton reported a negative population increase of 3.5%. The total private dwellings were 45 342 and the land in square kilometers is 2 433.33 square kilometers. The population density is 42.0 (Statistics Canada, 2007b). The age characteristics show that most individuals are between 50 and 59 years. This reflects a high life expectancy of above 50 years which depicts a healthy population. However, by considering the difference in population increase as was in the case of Halifax, it shows that the death rate is higher than the birth rate. Most families prefer having one or two children with most having one. The financial obligations needed in raising them may be a factor to consider in making a conclusion on the age. The average household size is 2.4. This shows that some of the families or the married individuals do not get children.
The median income in couple households with children in 2005 was $66 887, those of couple households without children was $55 003 with that of single/one person households being $19 201. This shows an economically stable community that can be in a position to raise or put up with the financial obligations needed in primary needs such as health. The education standards are high just as in Halifax where most individuals have attained bachelor’s level education. This explains the source of skilled labor in the region and the high income among the individuals. An educated society will be ideal in offering skilled labor in the companies and industries therefore promoting economic growth.
Surveys have been done to understand the health status of the Cape Breton individuals. One of such surveys is Understanding Our Health (2006) which was conducted by Central Inverness Community Health Board. The aim of the survey was to obtain reproducible, comparable, quantitative data on the health status and health behaviors of individuals within Cape Breton. There were serious issues that arose from the survey. First, 78% of individuals in Cape Bretons live with at least one chronic illness. On top of this, 63% are overweight and a quarter of the population have hypertension (Cape Breton District Health Authority, 2006). There is an urgent need to address various economic issues in Cape Brenton (Moving towards a Sustainable Future: Annual Report 2009‐2010).
The feeding habits of the Breton citizens are poor which lead to the illnesses. Therefore, looking at the medical requirements that arise due to the illnesses, the families and the specific individuals use a lot of money on health issues. The number of individuals working in the health sector is 6 925 with this number being made up of 945 males and 5 980 females. This number is by far low compared to the ones in Halifax which was more than twenty thousand. The trend in the gender representation is closely similar with females dominating the field. Most of the learned individuals have studied in Canada. This shows that the quality of studies offered in Canada is high.
Majority of citizens above the age of 15 are learned and so they can offer skilled labor in the industries. This has also played a significant role in elevating the living standards of the people. However, health policies should be developed to ensure that a lasting solution is offered to make sure that the chronic diseases are addressed in a lasting manner. Therefore, the differences noted form a health perspective are on the life expectancy and the average family number. The living standards can lead to the differences. Most middle class citizens prefer having few children who will be easier to bring up. The individuals who are economically low often get more children.
One of the issues that various policy makers have tried to address is the issue of child poverty. As is evident from the two profiles, though the most of the individuals in the population may be socio-economically up, there are others who are living in abject poverty finding it hard to raise the basic medical needs. Therefore, the federal government should have ways that ensure that the children from poor backgrounds are not affected by the environment they live in. On top of that, as it is evident from the statistics, the -3.5% population increase will result to a crisis in the future in terms of labor. A population that is normal should have a low growth rate but not a drop. When the death rate supersedes the birth rate, the economic sustainability is threatened which means at a time in the future, the region may be forced to import skilled labor as well as unskilled labor.
According to Dr. Fraser on child poverty, she noted that one of the basic factors that determine a child’s success and outcomes in fields such as education is their natural health and abilities (Blair, 2015). Therefore, the best way to address the health concerns is by formulate policies to address child poverty among other issues (Social Economy and Sustainability Research Network, 2009). This can be addressed from a family point where the children are covered by health insurance up to the time they reach a self-reliant age. Education should also be offered indiscriminately to give all an equal platform to realize their dreams. Therefore, education can be used to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich in the two communities. On top of that, to address the issue of chronic diseases which are a threat to regional health, public awareness should be put in place (Cape Breton District Health Authority, 2006).
Blair, K. (February 7, 2015). Child Poverty really means family poverty. Retrieved from. <http://www.capebretonpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/2015-02-07/article- 4034635/Child- poverty-really-means-family-poverty/1>
Canadian Institute for Health Information, (2008). Reducing Gaps in Health: A Focus on Socio- Economic Status in Urban Canada (Ottawa, Ont.: CIHI).
Halifax County Health Department. (2013). State of the County health Report. Retrieved from.
Lynch, A. (October 26, 2011). Health Care in Nova Scotia: Money not the problem. The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved from. <http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/27300-health- care-in-nova-scotia-money-not-the-problem>
Moving Towards a Sustainable Future: Annual Report 2009‐2010. Cape Breton District Health
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Statistics Canadab. 2007. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (Code1217030) (table). 2006 Community Profiles. 2006 Census. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 92-591-XWE. Ottawa. Released March 13, 2007. http://www12.statcan.ca/census-recensement/2006/dp-pd/prof/92- 591/index.cfm?Lang=E (accessed July 26, 2015).