Statistics are used to:
Attributes that you should be looking for when evaluating your 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
Surveys: deliberately requested information.
Administrative Records: statistics generated by doing regular business
When working with Census information, there are two critical components:
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 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)
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: