We filled out our first Canadian census last night! Even though the official deadline was May 16, it appears that ours will be accepted and we'll be counted. Canada takes a census every five years, twice as frequently as the US.

It was the simplest of questionnaires. I was a little disappointed that it didn't ask about our country of origin. I suppose immigration statistics can come directly from the CIC.

This is also the first Canadian census to ask specifically about same-sex relationships. Here's an interesting note from Statistics Canada about Question Six.
The 2006 Census is the first Canadian census where same-sex married couples can indicate their relationship. The census thus continues to keep in step with societal and legal realities. Results of the 2006 Census will be used to provide Canadian citizens and institutions with accurate data needed for decision making.

Statistics Canada 's goal is to provide the most accurate count possible of opposite-sex and same-sex married couples. Testing by Statistics Canada prior to the 2006 Census determined that the most accurate information on same-sex married couples is obtained when they directly report their relationship by using the write-in space provided. While same-sex married couples can also indicate their relationship by checking the "husband or wife" box, testing to date has shown the results have data quality problems. In this case, the gender variable must be used to distinguish between opposite-sex and same-sex married couples. Because the number of same-sex married couples is relatively small compared to all married couples, a very small level of misreporting of gender leads to an overestimation many times over of the number of same-sex married couples.

This variable like all other census variables will be subject to a rigorous data quality assessment. The release of information on married couples will include a quality assessment of the data for same-sex married couples obtained from the write-in space and the "husband or wife" box.

Statistics Canada also tested a number of options including using the expression "same-sex spouse" or "opposite-sex spouse". The expression "spouse" was confusing for many respondents. Statistics Canada also found that "husband or wife" was not used by all gay and lesbian married couples to describe their relationship. It is, therefore, because of its desire to produce the most accurate statistics possible that Statistics Canada encourages same-sex married couples to report their relationship by using the write-in space provided.

As we prepare for the 2011 Census, consultation will be held with the Gay and Lesbian community on this matter as well as further testing with same-sex married couples to review wording and options for this question.

Could it be that the difference between Canada and the US is that Canada "continues to keep in step" with reality?


Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

The deadline's not really one I haven't recieved one yet, and when I called they said if I haven't recieved it by today, call again next week.

Actually, there's a long and a short form. Most people get the short form, but some people (a random 20%) get the long, 40 page form. One of my coworkers got the long one...

laura k said...

One of my coworkers got the long one...

Wish I had!

MSS said...

Can you imagine a US census publication even using the word, "married," in this context? No, sure can't.

laura k said...

I still believe it will, one day. But we may not be around to see it.