The Clement caveat - Macleans.ca

The Clement caveat

A new release from the National Household Survey

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A new release from the National Household Survey and a caveat still applies.

Moreover, the NHS estimates are derived from a voluntary survey and are therefore subject to potentially higher non-response error than those derived from the 2006 Census long form.

Chief Statistician Wayne Smith, who stepped into the job after Munir Sheikh resigned, both acknowledges the shortcomings and defends the data.

He acknowledges the data from the NHS is not of the same calibre as a mandatory census, but says that doesn’t rule out its usefulness. “True, it’s not a census, true, there’s been some loss of small-area data and true there’s more volatility in the estimates for small populations and small areas, particularly small populations in small areas. But the data turns out to be remarkably strong,” given the agency’s ability to use external information and benchmarks to help verify the results.

Frances Woolley has previously considered how economists should approach the NHS. And Stephen Gordon has previously quibbled with Mr. Smith’s defence of the NHS.