The 24 candidates running for council and mayor in Abbotsford are serving to represent a city that they, as a group, are reflective of in some ways – but not in many other aspects.
The News asked the candidates for their ages, places of birth, the years they have lived in Canada, the type of housing they live in, and how they get around town.
Abbotsford has roughly 40,000 people aged 18 to 40, representing about 36 per cent of the city’s voting age population.
But just four of the 24 people running for council or mayor are in their 20s or 30s.
On the flip side, nine candidates were aged 60 or older. That left the median age of Abbotsford candidates around 54 – about 10 years older than the city’s actual average age (we had to make some guesses because one candidate gave an age range and another was late in responding).
Abbotsford is also a city of immigrants and, in that respect, the candidates are more representative – eight, or one-third, of those running were born outside of Canada.
That tracks relatively closely with the 27 per cent of Abbotsford residents who came from another country.
The candidates are no strangers to Abbotsford, though. Every person running for office, except one, has lived in the city for more than 20 years.
That may reflect their average ages; the one person who has lived here the shortest amount of time is also the only candidate in his 20s – Josh Reynolds.
The candidates also reflect just how car-dependent Abbotsford is: Only two don’t count a personal vehicle as their main mode of transportation (Dao Tran uses his bike, and Trevor Eros gets around using transit). Four use some sort of electric vehicle.
And while half of Abbotsford residents live in a house, with the rest living in apartments and townhouses, the vast majority – 75 per cent – of the city’s council and mayor candidates live in single-family homes.
Finally, there’s one big area where the 2018 crop of council candidates doesn’t look anything like the general block of voters: gender.
Just four of the 18 council candidates are women. Those four, as it happens, are all incumbents.
Of the 11 newcomers trying to win a spot as a councillor, none are women. The mayoral side of things is markedly better, with two women running.