Tuesday, December 06, 2005

O Canada

It used to be that when I would Google for some obscure statistical figure, as often as not, I would hit on something from Statistics Canada, which would be irritating, because I wanted numbers for the United States.

Statistics Canada is a centralized statistical agency that serves the federal and provinical governments. It originated in 1919 as the Dominion Bureau of Statistics. It conducts over 400 surveys.

While some of the raw statistics are available on the page, many of the reports are only available for a price. It is supposed to operate on a cost-recovery basis.

One section that is totally free, as far as I can tell, is the Canadian Census.
It is similar to the U.S Census in that it depends on self-enumeration (the US since 1970, Canada since 1971). Both countries use short forms (100% response requested) and sample data long forms. Some of the geographies (metropolitan areas, census tracts, blocks) are comparable.
Conversely, Canada has collected data about religion since 1871, something that does not happen in the United States because of the separation of church and state. It has only been counting the non-"Caucasian" non-aboriginal population since 1996; "visible minorities" include Arab and Latin American populations. Canada recognizes common law marital status.

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