“Cumulative” harm from voluntary Census

Have a look at this article from the Hill Times: Voluntary census already damaging reliability of statistics, harm is ‘cumulative’.

“...we’re going to be getting further and further away from a point when we ever did have good information about what society looked like. The effect of bad information is cumulative, and it shows up in all kinds of policies.

Thanks to Wendy Watkins for posting this to the CAPDU list!


Immigrant counts are off – by quite a bit

So far my favourite snippet from the reference material on the National Household Survey (pointed out by this Toronto Star article) is this, one, taken from here:

It is impossible to definitively determine how much the NHS may be affected by non-response bias. However, based on information from other data sources, evidence of non-response bias does exist for certain populations and for certain geographic areas…
(B)ased on the estimates and trends from the sources mentioned above, evidence suggests that the NHS estimate for the population born in the Philippines is overestimated at the national level. According to population estimates, the number of immigrants from the Philippines who entered Canada from January 2006 until June 2011 is 141,502, while the NHS estimate of the population born in the Philippines who immigrated between January 2006 and the survey date, May 10, 2011 is larger (152,270). As well, the population born in Pakistan is suggested to be underestimated… 

Also, that list of townships for which no data will be released? Includes 1814 places. That’s… quite a few.

The Star article quotes Industry Minister Christian Paradis saying the following:

“This was the first time a voluntary National Household Survey was undertaken,” Paradis said. “Our government will be looking at options to improve the quality and reliability of the data generated by the 2016 census cycle.”

Anyone have any advice for him?

Mid-week news update

This week’s media highlights


Statistics Canada study looked at how a voluntary 2006 census would have turned out…

And the results weren’t pretty.  Errors in estimating basic facts – like changes in the percentage of owners verses renters – were as big as 5%.

The internal study, “Potential Impact of Voluntary Survey on Selected Variables,” was obtained by the Globe and Mail under a Freedom of Information request and is not generally available.  The article is here.