Tuesday, May 03, 2016

On the return of the long-form census to Canada in 2016

It's time for Canadians to deal with the 2016 Census, and this year, as the Liberal government has promised, the long-form census is back. CBC News' Hannah Jackson outlined this in "The long-form census is back, it's online — and this time, it's mandatory".

Statistics Canada today officially begins mailing out access codes so Canadians can prepare to complete the 2016 census online — either the regular or the newly restored long-form version — next week.

Census Day is May 10, but Statistics Canada is encouraging Canadians to complete their census forms as soon as they receive them.

The letters will provide a 16-digit access code to allow households to complete the census online, but also gives Canadians the option of having a paper version mailed to their homes.

[. . .]

One in four randomly selected households in Canada will receive the 36-page long-form questionnaire known as the National Household Survey, while the remainder of Canadians will receive the 10-question short version. Both are mandatory.

Under Section 31 of the Statistics Act, the consequence for failing to provide information to a mandatory census or falsely answering is liable to a summary conviction carrying a fine of up to $500, imprisonment of up to three months, or both.

The import of the census is outlined in Jordan Press' Canadian Press article "Long-form census forms return to mailboxes this week after absence", published at MacLean's and the Toronto Star.

For provincial coffers, the population estimates in the census determine how much per capita funding they will receive in transfers from the federal government.

For local governments and community groups, the demographic details in neighbourhoods help with decisions on where to place new schools, transit routes, seniors’ housing and emergency services.

For companies, the census data act as a much-needed complement to what’s become known as big data.

“Some people wonder, well, why do you even need a census when we have big data?” said Jan Kestle, president of Environics Analytics.

“When you combine the kind of data we now can collect with census data, you can really get a more integrated view of what consumers want both in terms of products and services and that’s also true in terms of what citizens want from government.”

The politics behind the 2011 cancellation are also explored briefly by Press.

The previous Conservative government replaced the long-form census with the voluntary survey five years ago in a move that caught many by surprise and lit a political fuse over the depth of data Statistics Canada collected through regular population counts. The results from the 2011 count prevented comparisons to previous years, left out some small communities over quality concerns, and raised reliability questions around response rates of immigrants and aboriginals.

As one of its first acts in government, the Liberals brought back the mandatory, long-form questionnaire.

Kestle said there will remain gaps in the data collected five years ago, but the return of the long-form census this year should bridge many of them created by the one-time absence.

“To be realistic, of course there will be breaks (in data), but I think missing one (census) is not nearly as bad as if we hadn’t had it come back,” she said.

Craig Silverman's humourous article at Buzzfeed is worth reading for the chuckles.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Some followups

For tonight's post, I thought I'd share a few news links revisiting old stories
  • The Guardian notes that British citizens of more, or less, recent Irish ancestry are looking for Irish passports so as to retain access to the European Union in the case of Brexit. (Net migration to the United Kingdom is up and quite strong, while Cameron's crackdown on non-EU migrants has led to labour shortages.
  • NPR notes one strategy to get fathers to take parental leave: Have them see other fathers take it.
  • Reuters notes that the hinterland of Fukushima, depopulated by natural and nuclear disaster, seems set to have been permanently depopulated. Tohoku
  • Bloomberg noted that East Asia's populations are aging rapidly, another article noting how Japan's demographic dynamics are setting a pattern for other high-income East Asian economies.
  • In Malaysia, the Star notes that low population growth among Malaysian Chinese will lead to a sharp fall in the Chinese proportion in the Malaysian population by 2040.
  • Coming to Alberta, CBC notes how the municipality of Fort McMurray has been hit very hard by the end of the oil boom, as has been Alberta's largest city and business centre of Calgary.
  • On the subject of North Korea and China, The Guardian wrote about the stateless children born to North Korean women in China, lacking either Chinese or North Korean citizenship.
  • The Inter Press Service notes that, as the Dominican Republic cracks down on Haitian migrants and people of Haitian background generally, women are in a particular situation.
  • IWPR provides updates on Georgia's continuing and ongoing rate of population shrinkage, a consequence of emigration.
  • On the subject of Cuba, the Inter Press Service reported on Cuban migrants to the United States stranded in Latin America, while Agence France-Presse looked at the plight of Cuba's growing cohort of elderly.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

On women and fertility, briefly

Thinking about Demography Matters and International Women's Day, I realized that almost all of my blogging here on fertility issues, at least the blogging that relates to the incentives and disincentives, relates to the choices of women. This makes a certain amount of sense since it's ultimately women who are essential in reproduction--not biologically, true, but socially. Single motherhood is more common than single fatherhood, at least in contemporary Western societies, for a reason.

This is not going to be a very long post at all. Consider it a brief note, to myself as much as to you. What are the hidden assumptions in the relationship between gender--female gender, male gender--and demographic outcomes? What things get missed?