Statistics by subject – Income, pensions, spending and wealth

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  • Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 62F0026M2009002
    Description:

    This guide presents information of interest to users of data from the Survey of Household Spending, which gathers information on the spending habits, dwelling characteristics and household equipment of Canadian households. The survey covers private households in the 10 provinces. (The territories are surveyed every second year, starting in 1999.)

    This guide includes definitions of survey terms and variables, as well as descriptions of survey methodology and data quality. One section describes the various statistics that can be created using expenditure data (e.g., budget share, market share, aggregates and medians).

    Release date: 2009-12-18

  • Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 5161
    Release date: 2009-12-02

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2009002
    Description:

    Low income cut-offs (LICOs) are income thresholds, determined by analysing family expenditure data, below which families will devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would. To reflect differences in the costs of necessities among different community and family sizes, LICOs are defined for five categories of community size and seven of family size.

    Low income measures (LIMs), on the other hand, are strictly relative measures of low income, set at 50% of adjusted median family income. These measures are categorized according to the number of adults and children present in families, reflecting the economies of scale inherent in family size and composition. This publication incorporates a detailed description of the methods used to arrive at both measurements. It also explains how base years are defined and how LICOs are updated using the Consumer Price Index.

    Release date: 2009-06-03

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2009001
    Description:

    This series provides detailed documentation on income developments, including survey design issues, data quality evaluation and exploratory research for the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics in 2006.

    Release date: 2009-01-13

  • Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 62F0026M2009001
    Description:

    This guide presents information of interest to users of data from the Survey of Household Spending, which gathers information on the spending habits, dwelling characteristics and household equipment of Canadian households. The survey covers private households in the 10 provinces. (The territories are surveyed every second year, starting in 1999.)

    This guide includes definitions of survey terms and variables, as well as descriptions of survey methodology and data quality. One section describes the various statistics that can be created using expenditure data (e.g., budget share, market share, aggregates and medians)

    Release date: 2008-12-22

  • Index and guides: 97-563-G2006003
    Description:

    This guide focuses on the following variables: After-tax income, Total income and its components, Income status as well as other related variables from the Income and earnings release.

    Provides information that enables users to effectively use, apply and interpret data from the 2006 Census. Each guide contains definitions and explanations on census concepts, data quality and historical comparability. Additional information will be included for specific variables to help general users better understand the concepts and questions used in the census.

    Release date: 2008-12-04

  • Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 12-585-X
    Description:

    This product is the dictionary for the Longitudinal Administrative Databank (LAD). The dictionary contains a complete description for each of the income and demographic variables in the LAD, including name, acronym, definition, source, historical availability and historical continuity.

    The following is a partial list of LAD variables: age, sex, marital status, family type, number and age of children, total income, wages and salaries, self-employment, Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, Canada and Quebec Pension Plans, social assistance, investment income, rental income, alimony, registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) income and contributions, low-income status, full-time education deduction, provincial refundable tax credits, goods and service tax (GST) credits, Canada Child Tax Benefits, selected immigration variables, and Tax Free Savings (TFSA) information.

    Release date: 2008-11-25

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992009
    Description:

    There are many issues to consider when developing and conducting a survey. Length, complexity and timing of the survey are all factors that may influence potential respondents' likelihood to participate in a survey. One important issue that affects this decision is the extent to which a questionnaire appears to be an invasion of privacy. Information on income and finances is one type of information that many people are reluctant to share but that is important for policy and research purposes.

    Collecting such information for the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) has proven difficult, and has resulted in higher than average non-response rate for a supplemental survey to the Labour Force Survey. Given the similarity between the SCF and an upcoming survey, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), it is important to examine the reasons behind the SCF's higher non-response rate and obtain suggestions for increasing response rate and gaining commitment from respondents to the 6-year SLID.

    Statistics Canada asked Price Waterhouse to conduct focus groups and in-depth interviews with respondents and non-respondents to the SCF. The objectives of these focus groups and in-depth interviews were to explore reasons for response and non-response, issues of privacy and confidentiality and understanding of the terms used in the survey, and to test reactions to the appearance of a draft SLID package.

    Release date: 2008-10-21

  • Technical products: 75F0002M199201A
    Description:

    Starting in 1994, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) will follow individuals and families for at least six years, tracking their labour market experiences, changes in income and family circumstances. An initial proposal for the content of SLID, entitled Content of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics : Discussion Paper, was distributed in February 1992.

    That paper served as a background document for consultation wit h interested users. The content underwent significant change during this process. Based upon the revised content, a large-scale test of SLID will be conducted in February and May 1993.

    This document outlines the current demographic and labour content, leading into the test.

    Release date: 2008-10-21

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2008006
    Description:

    Comparisons of low income between regions may have impacts on policy choices. However, it is often argued that rankings of distributions are not robust and that they are also quite sensitive to methods of defining low income. This paper avoids these problems by using a stochastic dominance approach to compare regional low income profiles in Canada without arbitrarily specifying a low-income line. This analysis is carried out for the 10 provinces using the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics for 2000. Robustness of the results is also verified with respect to different choices of spatial price deflators and equivalence scales. The extent to which the findings are sensitive to the choice of an absolute or a relative concept of low income is also examined. We show that, in most cases, dominance relations can be determined and regional low income can be ordered for a wide range of low-income lines. We also show that dominance results are robust to the choice of equivalence scales, while rank reversal occurs when alternative cost-of-living deflators are used. Switching from an absolute to a relative low-income concept only affects low-income rankings for Ontario, Quebec and the Prairie provinces, but not in the case of other provinces. Nevertheless, for all scales, we find that low income is greatest in British Columbia.

    Release date: 2008-10-09

  • Technical products: 75-512-X
    Description:

    This book provides technical documentation of variables, methodologies and extended lists of references used in developing the research findings reported in "New Frontiers of Research on Retirement". It will be used around the world by researchers and teachers, as well as by students preparing theses related to patterns of transition to retirement. This documentation is important because a large part of book is devoted to scientific papers that are based upon Statistics Canada's data and which require substantial innovations of useful concepts and data.

    Release date: 2008-09-08

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2008004
    Description:

    Low income cut-offs (LICOs) are income thresholds, determined by analysing family expenditure data, below which families will devote a larger share of income to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family would. To reflect differences in the costs of necessities among different community and family sizes, LICOs are defined for five categories of community size and seven of family size.

    Low income Measures (LIMs), on the other hand, are strictly relative measures of low income, set at 50% of adjusted median family income. These measures are categorized according to the number of adults and children present in families, reflecting the economies of scale inherent in family size and composition. This publication incorporates a detailed description of the methods used to arrive at both measurements. It also explains how base years are defined and how LICOs are updated using the Consumer Price Index.

    Release date: 2008-06-04

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2008003
    Description:

    The Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) is a longitudinal survey which collects information related to the standard of living of individuals and their families. By interviewing the same people over a period of six years, changes and the causes of these changes can be monitored.

    A preliminary interview of background information is collected for all respondents aged 16 and over, who enter the SLID sample. Preliminary interviews are conducted for new household members during their first labour and income interview after they join the household. A labour and income interview is collected each year for all respondents 16 years of age and over.

    The purpose of this document is to present the questions, possible responses and question flows for the 2007 preliminary, labour and income questionnaire (for the 2006 reference year).

    Release date: 2008-05-30

  • Index and guides: 97-563-P2006003
    Description:

    This guide focuses on the following variables: After-tax income, Total income and its components, Income status as well as other related variables from the Income and earnings release.

    Provides information that enables users to effectively use, apply and interpret data from the 2006 Census. Each guide contains definitions and explanations on census concepts. Additional information will be included for specific variables to help general users better understand the concepts and questions used in the census.

    Release date: 2008-05-01

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992006
    Description:

    Labour force status will be an important analytical variable for many users of SLID data. The document discusses the issues involved in deriving this variable, and details the approach to be adopted.

    Briefly, a value will be assigned for every one-week period, with three possibilities: employed, unemployed and not in the labour force. To a large extent, concepts used in the Canadian Labour Force Survey will be used. Since there are several situations where a straightforward approach to the classification is not possible, additional information will be available to data users who wish to adjust the definitions used.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992007
    Description:

    A Preliminary Interview will be conducted on the first panel of SLID, in January 1993, as a supplement to the Labour Force Survey. The first panel is made up of about 20,000 households that are rotating out of the Labour Force Survey in January and February, 1993.

    The purpose of this document is to provide a description of the purpose of the SLID Preliminary Interview and the question wordings to be used.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992008
    Description:

    This paper, as part of the design development process for the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID), examines the implications for data quality of accepting proxy responses. While it is apparent that rules that minimize proxy responses add to data collection costs, a review of the existing evidence suggests the effects of proxy reporting on data quality are less clear. The general conclusions of this review are that proxy respondents tended to underestimate participation in government income support programs, be subject to higher item non-response rates and lower rates of personal and household interviews, offer more consistent responses to sensitive subject matter and have greater difficulty in reporting detail and events of short duration. As a result of shortcomings in the design of the research into this question, the evidence is not conclusive. While there is no firm basis for the rejection of proxy responses, the maintenance of some control over proxy responses would be a reasonable strategy.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992001
    Description:

    Starting in 1994, the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) will follow individuals and families for at least six years, tracking their labour market experiences, changes in income and family circumstances. An initial proposal for the content of SLID, entitled "Content of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics : Discussion Paper", was distributed in February 1992.

    That paper served as a background document for consultation with and a review by interested users. The content underwent significant change during this process. Based upon the revised content, a large-scale test of SLID will be conducted in February and May 1993.

    The present document outlines the income and wealth content to be tested in May 1993. This document is really a continuation of SLID Research Paper Series 92-01A, which outlines the demographic and labour content used in the January /February 1993 test.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992002
    Description:

    When a survey respondent is asked to recall various events, it is known that the quality of the responses diminishes as the length of recall increases. On the other hand, increasing the frequency of data collection increases both the costs of collection and the burden on the respondents. The paper examines options which attempt to strike a reasonable balance between these factors. As it relates to this decision, the paper also describes how the sample has been designed to ensure that it remains representative of the target population, both for a given year and over time.

    The conclusion is that, at this time, SLID should collect labour data in January to cover the previous calendar year and to collect income data in May, again to cover the previous calendar year.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992003
    Description:

    As SLID is a longitudinal survey, it is desirable to retain respondents in the sample for as long as possible. However, sample attrition and changes in the popu lation result in the sample becoming less representative of the population as time passes. To balance these factors, the sample for a longitudinal survey may be comprised of panels, with each panel being representative of the target population. Starting with a fixed sample size, the paper examines feasible options for the number of panels in the sample and the length of time which each panel remains in the survey. The rationale for the selected option is reviewed.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992004
    Description:

    The accurate measurement of job search and unemployment has been a recurring problem in retrospective surveys. However, strategies to improve recall in such surveys have not been especially successful. Proposed solutions have included a) reducing the recall period and b) questioning whether the standard operationalization of labour force concepts is appropriate in a retrospective setting.

    One difficulty in arriving at an appropriate line of questioning is that there does not exist a reliable benchmark source indicating what sort of search patterns one should be observing over the year. Current notions of labour force dynamics have been heavily influenced by linked-record gross change data, which for various reasons cannot be considered a reliable source. These data show numerous changes in status from month-to-month and generally paint a picture of labour force participation that suggests little behavioural consistency.

    This study examines data from the Annual Work Patterns Survey (AWPS) and Labour Market Activity Survey (LMAS). It shows that the underreporting of job search in the AWPS (and to a lesser extent in the LMAS) is closely connected to the failure of respondents, in a significant number of cases, to report any job search prior to the start of a job, a problem for which there is a simple questionnaire solution.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Technical products: 75F0002M1992005
    Description:

    In recent years a considerable amount of attention has been focused on what is known as the "seam" problem in surveys having a longitudinal design. This refers to the fact that the number of transitions or changes in status observed across the seam when the data for two consecutive reference periods are juxtaposed is considerably larger (so metimes, an order of magnitude larger) than the average number observed in the data reported for a single reference period.

    Response errors are the most probable cause of seam biases. For characteristics such as employment status or income recipiency, errors can be due to omissions or to misplacing events in time. However, standard explanations for response errors based on "forgetting theory" are not supported by the data. Results concerning proxy effects are mixed but generally show no clear association.

    Dependent interviewing (i.e., feeding back to respondents responses provided on a previous interview) would appear the most appropriate strategy for dealing with seam effects. However, not all feedback techniques will necessarily work. A comparison of two such techniques, one which failed to eliminate seam effects (SIPP) and one which was successful (LMAS) and which has also been successfully tested by SIPP, attempts to identify the key features required.

    The paper argues in closing that dependent interviewing should not be viewed as a necessary evil that is required for reducing seam biases but as an integral part of the interview process in longitudinal surveys.

    Release date: 2008-02-29

  • Surveys and statistical programs – Documentation: 62F0026M2008001
    Description:

    This guide presents information of interest to users of data from the Survey of Household Spending, which gathers information on the spending habits, dwelling characteristics and household equipment of Canadian households. The survey covers private households in the 10 provinces. (The territories are surveyed every second year, starting in 1999.)

    This guide includes definitions of survey terms and variables, as well as descriptions of survey methodology and data quality. One section describes the various statistics that can be created using expenditure data (e.g., budget share, market share, aggregates and medians).

    Release date: 2008-02-26

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2008001
    Description:

    Shelter is the biggest expenditure most households make and its affordability can have an impact on the wellbeing of household members. For this reason, housing affordability is closely watched by a wide range of stakeholders - from housing advocates to policy analysts - interested in the welfare of Canadians. Measuring affordability involves comparing housing costs to a household's ability to meet them. One common measure is the shelter-cost-to-income-ratio (STIR). The 30% level is commonly accepted as the upper limit for affordable housing. Housing affordability is also a critical input to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's core housing need indicator which is used by governments to help design, deliver, fund and evaluate social housing programs. This report, jointly authored by Statistics Canada and CMHC, focuses purely on the dynamics of housing affordability, not on core housing need. It examines the likelihood of spending 30% or more of household income on shelter, how often this occurs, whether it is occasional or persistent, and contrasts those spending 30% or more to those spending less. Cross-sectional estimates indicate that around 19% of Canadians lived in households spending more than the affordability benchmark in 2002. Longitudinally however, less than 9% lived in households that spent above the benchmark in each year between 2002 and 2004, while another 19% lived in households spending above the benchmark for either one or two years. The attributes associated with the highest probabilities of living in a household spending above the affordability benchmark were: living alone, being a female lone parent, renting, being an immigrant, or living in Vancouver or Toronto. In addition, those living in households experiencing some kind of transition between 2002 and 2004 period had a higher probability of exceeding the benchmark at least once during the period. Such transitions included renters with a change in rent-subsidy status, those who changed from owner to renter or vice versa, those who changed family type (for example, marrying or divorcing), and those who moved between cities. Notably, those experiencing these transitions did not exceed the benchmark persistently.

    Release date: 2008-01-25

  • Technical products: 75F0002M2007006
    Description:

    This study uses administrative tax data and the Survey of Financial Security to explore trends in the number and characteristics of high-income Canadians, as well as their wealth and effective income tax rates, from 1982 to 2004. The paper uses a range of thresholds to delineate high income and emphasizes statistics on the top 5%, 1%, 0.1% and 0.01% of tax filers.

    The study found that an individual income of $89,000 was needed to be counted among the top 5% if income recipients in 2004. A family income of $154,000 would place one in the top 5% of families. The growth in incomes at the high end has been quite rapid while incomes of the majority of the population remained stable. Compared with the U.S., Canada had significantly fewer high-income recipients in 2004, and their incomes were considerably less. Higher-income individuals tend to be middle aged married males that live in the larger urban centres. While women have made up a larger portion on the top 5% of tax filers since 1982, they have not made gains in the very highest income groups. High income Canadians have roughly the same share of total wealth as they do of total income.

    High income Canadians, in line with an increasing share of total income, have been paying an increasing share of total personal income taxes. Their share of total income increased from 21% to 25% between 1992 and 2004 while their share of income taxes paid increased from 30% to 36%. At the same time their effective tax rate dropped from 29% to 27%. Thus despite lower tax rates the increase in incomes was large enough, when combined with the progressive tax system, to result in an increased share of total taxes paid by high income Canadians. There is considerable heterogeneity in effective tax rates at the individual level with some high income individuals facing an effective tax rate of over 45%, while some pay as little as 10%. The proportion of tax filers, across the income distribution, who pay zero taxes decreased between 1992 and 2004.

    Release date: 2007-09-24

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