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Health Statistics

TRU Library has a number of specialized sources for finding statistics relating to the Health.

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Statistics and their uses

Statistics are used to:

  • provide a description
    • answering the question about the scale or scope of something observable and its characteristics
  • make a comparison
    • establishing the degree of similarity or dissimilarity among observables
  • identify a relationship
    • looking at the correlation among characteristics of observables; how things are related

Assessing Statistics

Attributes that you should be looking for when evaluating your statistics:

  1. Relevence
    - How does the statistic reflect the needs of its clients and user
  2. Accuracy
    - Does the statistic accurately define the phenomenon that it was trying to measure?
  3. Timeliness
    - How long is the delay between the data gathering phase and the publishing phase?
  4. Accessibility
    - How findable is the statistic? Is it behind a pay wall?
  5. Interpretability
    - How much available documentation comes with the statistic? Definition? Data gathering methodology?
  6. Coherence
    - Does the statistic successfully verify similiar surveys?

Finding Statistics

Finding statistics is not easy.  There are generally two approaches, which are often used in combination with each other.

Publisher Strategy: identify an organization that would produce and publish such a statistic. Knowledge of government structure, areas of jurisdication and context is key.

Data Strategy: identify a data source from which the statistics were derived.

image credit: Chuck Humphrey, Data Library Coordinator, University of Alberta

 

Official Statistics: produced by government bodies (such as Statistics Canada) and some international or inter-governmental agencies (such as the U.N.)

Non-Offical Statistics: produced by other bodies, including trade associations, professional organizations, banks, consultants, marketing companies, academic institutions, etc

Types of Statistics

Statistical Types
Surveys Administrative Records
  • Census
  • Labour Force Survey
  • General Social Survey
  • National Household Survey
  • Aboriginal Peoples Survey
  • etc....
  • Vital Statistics
  • Hospital Morbidity
  • Crime Reports
  • Court Reports
  • Income Statistics
  • etc...

 

Surveys: deliberately requested information.

Administrative Records: statistics generated by doing regular business

The Latest Health Statistics from "The Daily"

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British Columbian Statistics

Provincial Sources

NOTE: The 20 Health Regions became 16 Health Service Delivery Areas administered by 6 Health Authorities in 2002 and various BC communities.

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Canadian Statistics

Critical Statistics Concepts

When working with Census information, there are two critical components:

  • Geography (boundaries, maps)
  • Definitions (variables)

Both of these elements can and do change over time.  It is essential that you know what is being counted and how it is gathered in order to make comparisons over time.

Data Quality: National Household Survey vs Census

Data quality notes: differences between the NHS and the census

The NHS was a voluntary survey; despite the fact that the questions were similar to those that would have been asked if the traditional long-form census questionnaire had been used, the methodological differences between the NHS and the census make comparing the data collected by both problematic:

The content of the NHS is similar to that of the 2006 Census long questionnaire. However, a number of changes were made to some questions and sections of the questionnaire. For example, the NHS measures a new component of income (capital gains or losses) and child care and support expenses; the questions used to measure Aboriginal identity were altered slightly; and the universe for determining generational status was expanded to include the entire population, not just the population aged 15 and over. In addition, the unpaid work section was not asked in the 2011 NHS.

Any significant change in survey method or content can affect the comparability of the data over time, and that applies to the NHS as well. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether, and to what extent, differences in a variable are attributable to an actual change or to non-response bias. Consequently, at every stage of processing, verification and dissemination, considerable effort was made to produce data that are as precise in their level of detail, and to ensure that the NHS's published estimates are of good quality in keeping with Statistics Canada standards.

Caution must be exercised when NHS estimates are compared with counts produced from the 2006 Census long form, especially when the analysis involves small geographies. Users are asked to use the NHS's main quality indicator, the global non-response rate (see Section 6.3), in assessing the quality of the NHS estimates and determining the extent to which the estimates can be compared with the counts from the 2006 Census long form. Users are also asked to read any quality notes that may be included in dissemination products. ("Chapter 5 -- Data quality assessment and indicators", NHS User Guide)

Canadian Statistics

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Statistics Canada

Census provides a statistical portrait of the country every five years and is designed to provide information about people and housing units in Canada by their demographic, social and economic characteristics.

Statistics Canada slices the country up into various pieces and those pieces of information have a hierarchy.

Census Metropolitan Area (CMA): have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the core.

Census Agglomeration (CA): A census agglomeration must have a core population of at least 10,000.

Census SubDivision (CSD): Census subdivision (CSD) is the general term for municipalities or areas treated as municipal equivalents for statistical purposes

Census tracts (CT): are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population between 2,500 and 8,000 persons. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations that have a core population of 50,000 or more.

Dissemination Area (DA): Small area composed of one or more neighbouring dissemination blocks, with a population of 400 to 700 persons. All of Canada is divided into dissemination areas.

Dissemination Block (DB): Area equivalent to a city block bounded by intersecting streets. These areas cover all of Canada.

Census Tracts - How to find and use

Each census tract is assigned a seven-character numeric 'name' (including leading zeros, the decimal point and trailing zeros).

To uniquely identify each census tract in its corresponding census metropolitan area (CMA) or tracted census agglomeration (CA), the three-digit CMA/CA code must precede the CT 'name.'

Example: 9250014.00  the 925 represents the CMA or CA and the 00014.00 represents the tract

Once you have your tract numbers, use them in the following tools:

Specialized Sources

The following data sources are available to current TRU students and faculty by appointment only with the Data Services Librarian.

Canadian Community Health Survey (Public Use Microdata Files)

The Public Use Microdata File from this 2000-2001 survey contains data from over 130,000 respondents aged 12 or older, residing in households across all provinces and territories. It provides data for 106 health regions or combined health regions across Canada and includes information on a wide range of topics, including alcohol consumption and dependence, chronic health conditions, fruit and vegetable consumption, general health, use of health services, height and weight, injuries, physical activity, restriction of activities and smoking. It also provides information on the socio-demographic characteristics of the population.

 

National Population Health Survey (Public Use Microdata Files)

The Public Use Microdata Files from these 1996/97 and 1998/99 surveys include a wide range of health information that covers general health status, use of health services and health determinants such as smoking, alcohol use and physical activity. The special focus in the 1998/99 cycle of the NPHS included the medical history of immediate family members, self-care and nutrition. Demographic and socio-economic variables are also available on these files.

 

 

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