Sooke is a fast-growing, yet seemingly tight-knit community, but how well do we know our neighbours?
After some digging around on the Statistics Canada website, whose information is relatively aged but provides a base idea, and talking to a few involved citizens, we can try to gain a better understanding of who the average “Sookie” is.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2016 census information, Sooke has a population of about 13,000. The community is divided relatively evenly between gender but with around 315 more women than men. Sooke’s land reaches about 57 square kilometres and has more than 5,200 households.
The population is comprised of mainly working-age individuals, as Statistics Canada noted 8,525 people were between the ages of 15 and 64. The highest number of men, at 2,075, were between the ages of 50 and 59.
Women’s ages were more evenly dispersed, with about 300 to 400 women every four-year jump starting from the ages 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and so on. However, the most significant number of female residents also landed between the ages of 50 and 59 years old, a total of 1,090.
The second-largest age group of Sookies was youth between the ages of zero and 14, with 1,170 males and 1,160 females, and the third-largest group would be seniors age 65 and older with 2,150 males and 1,000 females.
Out of the approximate 5,200 households, more than 3,440 of them are houses, and about 1,515 are attached dwellings such as apartments or suite rentals.
We’ve got a lot of families in this town, with the average home having three or more occupants contained under one roof. A total of 410 households have five or more occupants, 705 homes with four people in them, and 840 houses with three occupants.
Now let’s look behind the veil of Sooke’s married population.
Love is in the air for the average Sookie, because about 6,685 residents are married or living in a common-law relationship.
However, don’t feel bad if you don’t have a ring on your finger, because there are also plenty of single fish swimming around these waters. According to Statistics Canada, there are about 3,995 residents over the age of 15 who are not married as of 2016.
Next, let’s talk about moola.
As of 2015, the median after-tax income among individual residents was $30,843. Men are making an average of $38,420 and women averaging $25,349. The median average income for a household of two or more people was $75, 534 after taxes. This income ranks Sooke about even with the province’s average family income, which totals about $76,770 as of 2015, according to the province’s website.
So, that being said, Sooke looks to be a family-oriented, middle-class town. But what about the types of people drawn to this community?
Resident Ellen Lewers, who has lived in Sooke for about 34 years and involved in various community events, said she sees a lot of young families moving to the area over the years.
“It’s interesting because when we first moved here, there were about two houses behind me, and Sooke had a lot of young families. And now there are about 200 houses, and so many of them are still young families who are interested in growing gardens,” said Lewers. “It’s uplifting to see that.”
She said since the pandemic started, many residents have been coming by her farm looking to start their gardens. She feels like history has come full circle, and Sooke feels the same way it did 34 years ago.
“People here are practical, family-oriented, and like to be in a rural area,” said Lewers. “I see a lot of people coming from Vancouver or Victoria looking to live closer to nature.”
Lewers added that the people of Sooke are overall friendly and that there are a lot of talented individuals residing here.
“There is also a lot of people who are in the 55 to 65 age range, but they aren’t your bingo-type seniors. They are active and getting out and involved in the community,” said Lewers. “A different wind is certainly blowing here.”
Sooke has a reputation for being a caring community with a strong sense of volunteerism. Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said the average Sookie is “community-minded, kind, and empathetic.”
She said there is a lot of diversity in Sooke, which is something she loves about her community.
Local historian Elida Peers, offered a similar perspective to Lewers’, noting a young family who recently moved to Sooke so they can raise their children in a country atmosphere with opportunities in sports.
“He wanted to live in a neighbourly atmosphere with a focus on outdoor living, and perhaps also might have an independent spirit,” said Peers. “But there is no one answer for who the average Sookie is, that is a tough question.”
So there you have it, the numbers have been crunched, and it seems the average Sookie is a family-oriented person with a warm heart and fancies Mother Nature.
If this answer is too broad for you, it may just take knocking on your neighbours’ doors to find out who they truly are “on average.”
The good news is, it’s likely they will greet you kindly, and you can at least take this article as a conversation piece.