NHS Profile, 2011 – About the data

The National Household Survey (NHS) Profile provides information collected from the 2011 National Household Survey. The National Household Survey (May 2011) was a voluntary survey in which approximately 4.5 million households received a questionnaire. The survey provides social and economic information, covering such topics as: immigration, citizenship, place of birth, ethnic origin, visible minorities, religion, Aboriginal peoples, labour, education, place of work, commuting to work, mobility and migration, language of work, income, earnings, housing and shelter costs.

Data are provided for selected standard geographic areas including: Canada, provinces and territories, census divisions, census subdivisions, census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, and federal electoral districts. The data are available according to their release.

The data presented in this profile are from the National Household Survey and the Census of Population. The data are collected for private dwellings occupied by usual residents. A private dwelling is a dwelling in which a person or a group of persons permanently reside. Information for the National Household Survey does not include information for collective dwellings. Collective dwellings are dwellings used for commercial, institutional or communal purposes, such as a hotel, a hospital or a work camp.

To ensure confidentiality, the values, including totals are randomly rounded either up or down to a multiple of 5 or 10. As a result, when these data are summed or grouped, the total value may not match the individual values since totals and sub-totals are independently rounded.

In addition to random rounding, area and data suppression has been adopted to further protect the confidentiality of individual respondents' personal information.

Area and data suppression results in the deletion of all information for geographic areas with populations below a specified size. For example, areas with a population of less than 40 persons are suppressed. In addition to area suppression, information is suppressed if the global non-response rate to the National Household Survey was greater than 50% or greater than 25% for the Census of Population. Any income data collected from the National Household Survey are suppressed if the population in the area is less than 250 or if the number of private households is less than 40. Suppression of data can also be due to poor data quality or to other technical reasons.

Confidentiality disclosure control for the National Household Survey (NHS)

Disclosure control rules have been applied to data tables available from the National Household Survey (NHS). The number of actual records used to derive any number in a table must meet a minimum criterion. For a table cell where this criterion is not met, the number is replaced by a zero. Due to this disclosure control, subtotals will not necessarily aggregate to the total. As well, users should note that random rounding has also been applied to the data.

Citizenship and immigration data on Indian reserves and Indian settlements

Persons living on Indian reserves and Indian settlements who were enumerated with the 2011 NHS N2 (on-reserve) questionnaire were not asked the questions on citizenship (Question 10), landed immigrant status (Question 11) and year of immigration (Question 12). Consequently, citizenship, landed immigrant status and year of immigration data are not available for Indian reserves and Indian settlements at census subdivision and lower levels of geography where the majority of the population was enumerated with the N2 questionnaire, rather than with the N1 questionnaire which was administered to the off-reserve population. Citizenship and immigration data are, however, included in the totals for larger geographic areas, such as census divisions and provinces.

For more information on citizenship and immigration data on Indian reserves and Indian settlements, see the Data Quality and Confidentiality Standards and Guidelines for the National Household Survey.

Non-permanent residents and the NHS universe

The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) included information about non-permanent residents in Canada. Non-permanent residents are defined as persons from another country who, at the time of the survey, held a Work or Study Permit or who were refugee claimants, as well as non-Canadian-born family members living in Canada with them. The non-permanent resident population is identified from responses to the citizenship and landed immigrant status questions. Persons who are not Canadian citizens by birth and who answered 'No' to the landed immigrant status question are considered non permanent residents.

The inclusion of non-permanent residents in the NHS facilitates comparisons with provincial and territorial statistics (marriages, divorces, births and deaths) which include this population and provides information for planning of services, such as health care, education and employment programs. As well, the inclusion of non-permanent residents brings Canadian practice closer to the United Nations recommendation that long-term residents (persons living in a country for one year or longer) be enumerated.

Although every attempt has been made to enumerate non-permanent residents, factors such as language difficulties, the reluctance to complete a government form or to understand the need to participate may have affected the estimate of this population.

Comparability of low-income estimates

Low-income estimates from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) compared to previous censuses show markedly different trends than those derived from other surveys and administrative data such as the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) or the T1 Family File (T1FF).

Data to support quality estimates of low-income trends require a stable methodology over time that has similar response patterns. With the new methodology of the NHS, estimates of low income are not comparable to the Census-based estimates produced in the past.

Previous census income releases compared low-income rates over time using the low-income cut-off (LICO). Given the lack of comparability of the trends and to prevent misleading conclusions arising from comparisons of LICO estimates from the NHS with earlier censuses, estimates of low-income based on LICO are not available as a standard product from the NHS. They are available upon request.

Analysis of the NHS estimates suggests that it is valid to compare low-income estimates for different sub-populations within the NHS (that is, for different geographic areas or demographic groups). While many low-income measures, including the LICO, are well suited to the analysis of trends in low income, the after-tax Low Income Measure (LIM-AT) is better suited to the analysis of low income in the NHS because the threshold level of income below which one is considered to have low income is itself derived from the households that responded to the survey.

Condition of dwelling

The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) estimate for the percentage of dwellings requiring major repair in Nunavut was higher than the comparable rate in the 2009/2010 Nunavut Housing Needs Survey. For provinces, other territories and Canada, the percentage of dwellings requiring major repairs in the NHS was not statistically different when compared to other surveys. For more information, please consult the Housing Reference Guide, National Household Survey, Catalogue no. 99-014-X2011007.

Housing tenure

The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) estimate for homeownership in Alberta was statistically higher than the comparable rate in the 2010 Survey of Labour Income Dynamics (SLID). The 2011 NHS estimate of the homeownership rate for other provinces and for Canada was not statistically different when compared to the 2010 SLID. For more information, please consult the Housing Reference Guide, National Household Survey, Catalogue no. 99-014-X2011007.

Income suppression and data quality

Area suppression is the deletion of all characteristic data for geographic areas with populations below a specified size. Income distributions and related statistics are suppressed if the population in the area, excluding residents in collective dwellings, is less than 250, or if the number of private households is less than 40.

Tables with total income, after-tax income or earnings distributions

Total income, after-tax income and earnings distributions have been suppressed where the estimated total number of units (persons, families or households) is less than 250. All suppressed cells and associated averages and medians have been replaced with zeros or symbols.

In all cases, suppressed data are included in the appropriate higher aggregate subtotals and totals.

For information on data quality, refer to the Income Reference Guide, National Household Survey, Catalogue no. 99-014-X2011006.

About federal electoral districts (2013 Representation Order)

The Constitution of Canada requires that the number of seats in the House of Commons be recalculated and the boundaries of federal electoral districts (FEDs) be reviewed after each 10-year census to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population. This process is known as the redistribution of federal electoral districts. A 2013 Representation Order was proclaimed with 338 federal electoral districts, and reported in the Canada Gazette on October 5, 2013.

Many of the 338 federal electoral districts (2013 Representation Order) do not fully align with the 2011 Census geographic structure. To tabulate the data from the 2011 National Household Survey, the 2011 dissemination block structure was used. In some cases, dissemination blocks were split between FEDs and had to be assigned to a single FED for the purpose of tabulating the data. For this reason, and also due to random rounding and weighting, the 2011 National Household Survey data for these FEDs may not match the population counts reported in the Canada Gazette. In addition, the 2011 National Household Survey is based on the population in private households rather than the total population.

About health regions (December 2013)

'Health Region' refers to administrative areas defined by the provincial ministries of health. Unincorporated places and some municipalities in Ontario and in the Western provinces may be associated with more than one Health Region. The health region names and boundaries are those in effect as of October 2013.

As of May 2012, data for Prince Edward Island are disseminated at the provincial level only.

Minor name and code changes have been made to Nova Scotia health regions. For example, Zone 1 is now called South Shore/South West Nova while DHA 9 is now referred to as the Capital District Health Authority.

For Alberta, some indicators are now disseminated at five new Zone levels. These five new zones were approved for use in November 2010 in Alberta by the Joint Alberta Health Services - Alberta Health and Wellness Geographies Committee and are aggregations of the previous nine Regional Health Authorities.

The province of New Brunswick has made minor name changes to its health regions. The Regions are now referred to as Zones. In addition, a descriptive name for each Zone has been added. For example, Zone 1 will now be referred to as "Zone 1 (Moncton)".

In Ontario, Public Health Units (PHU) administer health promotion and disease prevention programs. Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN) are responsible for planning, funding and administering health care programs and services across the province. Health region data are provided for both PHUs and LHINs.

As a result of changes to Health Region geography in Manitoba in 2012, data are presented by Regional Health Authority (RHA). The 11 Health Regions in Manitoba were merged into 5 RHAs as follows:

In British Columbia, health regions (referred to as Health Service Delivery Areas) aggregate to Health Authorities. The third digit of the health region code represents the Health Authority:

For more information, see Health regions: boundaries and correspondence with census geography (December 2013) and Health regions in Canada - reference maps by province and territory (December 2013).

What are Health Regions used for?

The primary use of the data at the Health Region level is for health surveillance and population health research. Federal and provincial departments of health and human resources, social service agencies, and other types of government agencies use the information to monitor, plan, implement and evaluate programs to improve the health of Canadians and the efficiency of health services. Researchers from various fields use the information to conduct research to improve health. Non-profit health organizations and the media use the health region data to raise awareness about health, an issue of concern to all Canadians.

FAQs

  1. Why are census counts provided instead of the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) estimates for common topics in the NHS Profile?

    The NHS Profile includes topics that are common to the 2011 Census and the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). For these topics, the 2011 Census counts are presented because they are considered to be of better overall quality. The NHS estimates are developed from a sample survey and are therefore subject to sampling error, and due to the survey's voluntary nature, a potentially higher non-response error.

  2. The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS):  cases where no census data are available for topics common to NHS and census

    Census data for some census subdivisions (CSDs) are not released as the data do not meet the census quality threshold.

  3. Quality indicators

    1. Census data – quality indicators

      For census data, the global non-response rate (GNR) is used as an indicator of data quality. This indicator combines complete non-response (household) and partial non-response (question) into a single rate. A data quality flag associated with the range of the GNR is presented to users. The threshold used for data suppression is a GNR of 25% or more.

    2. The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) estimates – quality indicators

      For the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) estimates, the global non-response rate (GNR) is used as an indicator of data quality. This indicator combines complete non-response (household) and partial non-response (question) into a single rate. The value of the GNR is presented to users. A smaller GNR indicates a lower risk of non-response bias and as a result, lower risk of inaccuracy. The threshold used for estimates' suppression is a GNR of 50% or more. For more information, please refer to the National Household Survey User Guide, 2011.

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