The end of the long-form census

by Aaron Wherry

Munir Sheikh reviews the demise of the long-form census, his resignation and the ramifications for Statistics Canada.

As if this were not enough, the government’s decision on the long form census has the potential for a substantial impact in reducing the quality of Statistics Canada data.

Data quality may be affected in a variety of ways. First, it will affect the long form survey data. It is a statistical fact that a voluntary survey cannot become a substitute for a mandatory census because of uneven response rates from different population groups and different size geographic areas. Increasing the sample size cannot offset this problem. Hence, many data users including the federal government will lose the data quality they need. Second, to the extent that the long form census data provide a benchmark for other Statistics Canada surveys, the quality of data from these other surveys would deteriorate.




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The end of the long-form census

  1. Please Wherry, don’t remind me. This is a massive disaster in my opinion.

    There’s nothing we can do about this now, and worse, from this point forward we’ve lost the ability to compare and correlate long term trends, as the previous census and those before can’t be compared to the new “survey”.

    That’s terribly convenient for Harper, since the last census covered the period ending in 2006, ie just as Harper was taking power. So since the introduction of this “survey” makes it impossible to make comparisons to the previous census, that means we don’t really know what has happened/changed during Harper’s reign. Not with any degree of accuracy at least.

    I truly wonder if they didn’t consider that a benefit of switching from the census to a “survey”.

    I don’t like conspiracy theories, but it’s pretty damn convenient.

  2. I will miss being able to register as a “Jedi”.

    The lack of that important data will surely cause much hardship.

    • The very fact that you think your comment witty or apropos of anything is a sad comment on either your lack of comprehension, or lack of ethic, or both.

      • I will be saddened not to know how many Jedi reside in Canada. I’m sure there are many organizations that will also be at a loss when confronted by the lack of this critical statistic.

        • That’s okay. We’re still well aware that *you’re* an ass.

          And while you may think your Jedi thing is a masterful demonstration of why the long form doens’t matter, the sad part is that when the survey was mandatory that could be accounted for in a margin of error. The problem with a voluntary survey is we can’t really determine what kind of margin of error we’re dealing with because of selection bias. Basically, we can’t tell if all the jackasses like you are filling it in while good people don’t, or vice versa, or neither.

          • Why do you assume that a Jedi isn’t a good person?

          • Who said I do? I said “jackasses like you” not “jackasses like jedis”

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