A number is never just a number: Pseudo census

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The year the federal government scrapped Canada's mandatory long-form census, replacing it with a voluntary survey. It sparked a Save The Census campaign that drew the support of no fewer than 488 organizations and individuals. (Source)

July 21, 2010           

The date on which Munir Sheikh released a media advisory explaining his decision to step down as Statistics Canada's chief statistician, saying the new voluntary National Household Survey would be no substitute for the mandatory census. (Source)


The first year in which Canadians filled out the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). (Source)


September 11, 2013

The date on which Statistics Canada released the final round of NHS data, focusing on incomes. The agency acknowledges the change in data collection methods means we can't compare low-income data to previous census-based estimates. (Source)


The number of weeks that the release of the NHS income data was delayed so that Statistics Canada could make 'corrections and adjustments'. (Source)


The response rate for the 2011 voluntary NHS, which was sent to about 30 per cent of Canadian households. (Source)


The response rate for the mandatory 2006 long-form census, which was sent to about 20 per cent of households. That high response rate bolstered the previous census' reputation for reliable data. (Source)


The number of census subdivisions whose voluntary NHS response rates were so low that Statistics Canada had no choice but to remove them from the data outcomes. In the 2006 mandatory census, far fewer -- 884 -- subdivisions were suppressed. Source; source; source; and source)


The proportion of Saskatchewan census subdivisions with useable information, due to low voluntary response. (Source)


The percentage of Canada's millionaires who are missing from the voluntary NHS. (Source and source)


The amount of voluntary NHS data that the city of Toronto says it will use to compare with previous census data. The city cites NHS reliability concerns when it comes to historical comparisons. (Source)

$22 million

The additional cost of replacing the long-form census with the voluntary NHS. (Source)

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out at the beginning of each month.

Photo: Enokson/flickr

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