Community Balance Sheet


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GDP is like the figure at the bottom of corporate income statements. It represents the volume of economic activity in a community / region / country over a period of time. But most of us would not invest in a company solely on the strength of its sales and production volume last year. We would also look closely at the asset value and liabilities on the company's balance sheet.

The "Community Balance Sheet" provides a new way for us to evaluate the assets and liabilities of a community, region, or country. It adds depth to traditional measures of "how our economy performed" by asking "how strong are we today?"

This example of the "Community Balance Sheet" (for Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada) uses publicly available data as indicators of the community's assets and liabilities. The indicators are grouped under the "five capitals" of sustainable development (the modern factors of production): social capital, human capital, built capital, financial capital, and natural capital.

The "Community Balance Sheet" is licensed under the creative commons (see the sheet for details). Drop me an email if I can help apply this concept in your community.

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Community Balance Sheet

  1. 1. Windsor, Nova Scotia COMMUNITY BALANCE SHEET Assets Liabilities 69.9% M The crime severity index is Social Capital of residents feel a strong sense of belonging 93.4 Health problems limit G 19.2% employment for Human Capital of residents hold college or university credentials 34.3% of residents O Total property assessment is 6.8% Built Capital $221 m of dwellings require major repairs Average household income is 20.4% Financial Capital $46,639 of residents are classified as “low income” Greenhouse gas emissions 46.3% p are approximately Natural Capital of land is zoned for agricultural, green, 24.3 tonnes or common-use (per capita, CO2 equivalent) The Community Balance Sheet was created by Ryan MacNeil ( It can be shared and remixed for non-commercial purposes, with attribution, provided you share-alike (see the terms of the creative commons license by clicking the icon).
  2. 2. Data Sources: Assets Liabilities Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Social Capital Nova Scotia Community Counts (2008). Health Survey (2008). Statistics Canada’s Canadian Community Human Capital Nova Scotia Community Counts (2006).* Health Survey (2008). Service Nova Scotia & Muncicipal Built Capital Relations’ Annual Report of Municipal Nova Scotia Community Counts (2006).* Statistics (2009). Financial Capital Nova Scotia Community Counts (2006).* Nova Scotia Community Counts (2006).* Town of Windsor’s Integrated Community Environment Canada’s Community Natural Capital Sustainability Plan (2010). Information Database (2006). * These indicators are based on the 2006 Census. If the Government of Canada does not reinstate the long-form census, these indicators may not available again at a community-level: The Community Balance Sheet was created by Ryan MacNeil ( It can be shared and remixed for non- commercial purposes, with attribution, provided you share-alike: