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Thursday, 15 August 2013

National Household Survey - the National embarrassment gets worse.

As an anti-government libertarian mentality sweeps across the nation, the changing face of Canadian society incrementally edges towards some cataclysmal edge. Well perhaps, perhaps not, but at least on the journey through change,  those that have promoted collectivism and common good seem to be less likely the survivors while the fiscal gaps between highest and lowest earners increase, and the proportion of wealth assumed by the top 10% continues to grow substantively.  

One victim of the libertarian shift was the mandated long form census, replaced by the voluntary National Household survey.  The global non-response rate nationally was 26.1%, varying from a provincial low in Quebec of 22.4% to a high in PEI of 33.4%.  The best performer was actually the NWT at 16.1%.  

Making adjustments for non-response and data quality problems must be a nightmare for the statisticians used to completion rates in the low 90’s in previous censi.  The methodological issues are detailed at NHS data users guide  

So, what a shock when Stats Can puts a halt to the release of the third of the final three detail summaries.   Critical information on income distribution and housing, likely the most embarrassing data for the government, has been delayed by at least a month.  On the surface, the explanations appear to be legitimately operational with an error in data processing that will require reruns and reanalysis, and any researcher will sympathize.  However, delaying the release only 48 hours before its announced date has got to raise more eyebrows than the attention it appears to have garnered.   It is surprising the conspirists are not yet filling the airwaves with speculation on the data contents.  Globe and Mail August 14

We will need to wait about a month to figure out what bombshells will be dropped, by then the quieter summer news channels will be filled with items as schools, governments, universities are back into full swing and data releases from Stats Can might just not be a high priority.
Reading the Globe and Mail article also leads one to think that the cost of protecting the right to choose for the additional 20% of the population  exceeded $100 Million.  Not a trivial amount for a government that is honing its machete once again and preparing to swing hard and deep into its civil servant ranks. 

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