This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Canadian 2011 Census Will Be Short-Form Only

Preparations are well underway for the 2011 Census of Canada, which will be conducted in May. Following the lead of the United States, the long form has been abolished and only a small set of data will be obtained from each household. The questionnaires will be mailed out, but they can also be completed online. Statistics Canada has a pretty simple description of the process:
The questionnaire asks basic questions such as age, sex, marital status, relationship to others in the household and mother tongue. The paper questionnaire has enough space for answers from six people. If more than six people live in a household, call the Census Help Line for another questionnaire. It is important to count everyone.
Unfortunately, the decision last year to get rid of the long form was not a statistical or procedural one, but seems largely to have been driven by politics. The Conservative government appeared to feel that questions asked on the long form represented an invasion of privacy. 
Statistics Canada will, however, collect additional data:
The information previously collected by the long-form census questionnaire will be collected as part of the new voluntary National Household Survey (NHS). This questionnaire will cover most of the same topics as the 2006 Census.
The National Household Survey will be conducted within four weeks of the May 2011 Census and will include approximately 4.5 million households.
Census data are used everywhere for a wide range of government planning and business purposes that promote the welfare of society, so this is not a direction that anyone using census data wants to see us go.

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