My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Posts Tagged ‘Statistics Canada’

Canadian 2011 Census results: Will they be controversial?

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

The Vancouver Sun reports on the 2011 Canadian Census result, tabulated by Statistics Canada, more popularly, if there such a thing as popularity within a bunch of statisticians, known as StatCan. Though Canada is not typically known for controversy the 2011 Canadian Census caused quite a stir. But here’s the nitty-gritty:

Statistics Canada has now released the first installment of the data from the 2011 Census that took place in May of last year. These data relate to population and dwelling counts. Further installments of data related to age and sex of the population, families, households and marital status will be made available through the year.

From 1971 to 2006, the census included two parts: the short form and the long form. The short form included questions of a tombstone nature with the main objective being a head count. The long form included the remaining questions that were focused on getting respondents’ socio-economic information in areas such as the labour market, income, transportation, education, disabilities, housing, citizenship and ethnicity.

For the 2011 Census, the federal government decided to eliminate the long-form census that had 53 questions while maintaining the short form with eight questions. Two questions on language that were previously in the long form were added to the short form. Still being a census, the short-form questionnaire remained mandatory. The quality of the short-form data being released starting Wednesday, therefore, should be broadly as good as that released from the previous censuses.

Wednesday’s release showed that, on average, the Canadian population over the past five years grew 5.9 per cent to reach 33,476,688. Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Nunavut posted above-average, and all other provinces and territories below-average, growth. The sources of population growth over the past decade have been two-thirds through immigration and one-third through natural increases.

 

The Canadian Census…

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

I will be visiting Canada this summer and I plan to spend some time in Ottawa discussing the Canadian 2011 Census and writing a more detailed report about Canada’s census operations. Though not as controversial as America’s 2010 Census, for a place that is normally so placid and non-controversial, there are some major issues that have emerged for the 2011 Census that being discussed by the National Post. Recently, it was determined that in this bi-lingual nation, the 2006 census was marred because many francophones intentionally wrote that they did not speak English (a lie) so that francophone institutions would receive more funding. And now, a long-form/short-form battle over privacy issues is heating up:

Industry Minister Tony Clement stands by his government’s controversial decision to overhaul Canada’s 2011 census without public consultation or prior notice, saying the issue didn’t warrant any more attention than it was given.

“This has received the amount of publicity that it deserves for the issue that it is dealing with. This is an issue about the census that is taking place a year from now,” said Clement, who oversees Statistics Canada. “I don’t accept the fact that every time you make a change on every matter of government business, you have to shout it from every rooftop.”

The consultation process involved speaking to MPs who’d heard from constituents complaining that the mandatory long-form census was intrusive and Statistics Canada could be “heavy-handed” about ensuring compliance with the threat of fines and jail time, he said in an interview with Canwest News Service. The Conservatives asked the statistical agency to suggest alternatives, Clement says, and from those options, his government chose to eradicate the mandatory long questionnaire and shift those questions to an optional survey.

“We’ve made plans to make sure that the data collected is valuable data and is legitimate data, and that’s the right balance in our society,” he says. “You try to limit the amount of state coercion that you have, you try to limit the intrusiveness of government activities, and that’s the balance that we’ve struck.”

Previously, 80 per cent of Canadian households completed a short census form with eight basic questions and 20 per cent received a long questionnaire with 53 additional questions on issues such as ethnicity, education, employment, income, housing and disability. Both were mandatory, but for the 2011 census, the long questionnaire has been replaced with a voluntary National Household Survey that will be distributed to one in three households.