Comparing Income Statistics from Different Sources – Aggregate Income, 2005

by Eric Olson, Karen Maser

Highlights

This report compares the aggregate income estimates as published by four different statistical programs.

One is the System of National Accounts that provides a portrait of economic activity at the macro economic level. Three other main programs generate data from a micro-economic perspective: two are survey based and the third derives all its results from administrative data.

Conceptual differences exist across the sources, they are generally of little impact between the three programs from the micro perspective but a large chasm exists when comparing them to the macro economic accounts.

Data exists internally that can permit the computation of comparable aggregates for the four sources except for a few exceptions on the SNA side which would necessitate the development of further satellite accounts.

Minor differences exist in population coverage between the different instruments used to measure from the micro perspective, the most important for the aggregate income measures being the coverage of the population on Indian Reserves and the exclusion of the Territories from the scope of the Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics.

Even when adjusting for known conceptual differences and allowing for statistical variability, some reconciliation issues remain. These are sometimes are explained by the use of different methodologies or data gathering instruments but they sometimes also remain unexplained.

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