Jean Talon was Canada's first official statistician. He was born in 1625 in Champagne, France and arrived in North America in 1665 on a mission for King Louis XIV and his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert.
Jean Talon initiated Canada's first census in 1666 as the Intendant, or chief civil servant, of New France. The census counted the colony's 3,215 inhabitants, recording their age, sex, marital status and occupation. The information was needed for planning the colony's development. Talon did much of the data collection personally by visiting settlers on horseback during the winter of 1665-1666. Some have claimed that this was the first modern census since it was conducted purely for statistical purposes.
Talon was a man of enthusiasm and vision, and although he ranked below the Governor, he soon became the real manager of the colony. He served for two terms, from 1665 to 1668 and from 1670 to 1672.
He died in France in 1694.
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