New PM of Canada Restores Long-Form Census

Justin Trudeau, elected as the new Prime Minister of Canada in October of 2015, is bringing back the long-form census to Canada.  Though Canada previously had a long-form census, the federal government under Stephen Harper scraped it in 2010, shortly before the scheduled 2011 census. In it's place, the National Household Survey (NHS) was administered on a voluntary basis however many felt that the NHS was wildly inaccurate.  Munir Sheikh, head of Statistics Canada, the branch responsible for administering the census, resigned in 2010, citing that the inaccuracies inherent in such a voluntary survey would violate his oath of office and the requirements of the nation's Statistics Act. 

The NHS was ultimately panned by experts who pointed to unreliable and off-kilter results in many areas. The results were particularly out of line with data collected by Neighbourhood Change and tax records. The following graph shows the percent difference in the Gini coefficient* when calculated using  2005 Census versus 2010 NHS data and the 2010 NHS versus the 2010 Tax data.

Some have questioned whether Trudeau's promise to bring back the mandatory long-form for the scheduled 2016 census is realistic however there is general agreement that returning to the mandatory census will be possible even on such a short deadline. 

*The Gini Coefficient is a measure of inequality where a measure of true zero (0) is the equivalent of no inequality (everyone has exactly equal earnings, for example) and one (1.0) is the equivalent of complete inequality (one person member of the cohort has income while the rest have none). 

A Foster

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