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2006 Community Profiles

Data Quality - Relationship of Census Income Estimates to the National Accounts and Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics

Census income estimates of aggregate income in 2005 were compared to similar personal income estimates from the national accounts. After adjustments to the personal income estimates for differences in concepts and coverage, the census estimate of aggregate income in 2005 from comparable sources was 1.2% lower than the national accounts estimate. As in the past, census estimates for some income components and for some provinces compared more favourably than for others.

Census estimates of aggregate wages and salaries, the largest component of income, were slightly higher (1.0%) than the national accounts estimates. This was partially offset by the difference (-7.8%) between the census estimates of aggregate self-employment income from both farm and non-farm self-employment and the adjusted national accounts figures. Overall, estimates of aggregate employment income or earnings were nearly identical (0.3% difference).

Census estimates of Old Age Security pensions and the Guaranteed Income Supplement were slightly lower (-1.4%), as they were for Canada/Quebec Pension Plan benefits (-0.9%), than adjusted national accounts estimates. Employment Insurance benefits reported in the census were smaller by 6.1%. Census estimates of aggregate child benefits were 2.0% higher than the adjusted national accounts estimates. Census estimates of other government transfer payments, which include such items as social welfare benefits, provincial income supplements to seniors, veterans' pensions and GST/HST/QST refunds, were significantly below (-39.2%) the estimates from the national accounts. Overall, census estimates of aggregate income from all government transfer payments were lower by 12.0%. The census estimate of aggregate investment income in 2005 was slightly lower (-2.7%) than the comparable national accounts estimate. This is a significant improvement when compared to previous census comparisons.

Census income statistics were also compared with similar statistics from the annual Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID). SLID estimates reflect adjustments made for population undercoverage, while census estimates do not include such an adjustment. This adjustment contributes to census estimates showing fewer income recipients (-2.1%) and earners (-1.4%) than SLID estimates. However, due to higher average amounts, census estimates of aggregate earnings are 2.8% higher than the SLID estimate, while the census estimate of aggregate total income of individuals is 2.3% higher. Most of the observed provincial differences were considered acceptable in the light of sampling errors in the Survey. The all-person low income prevalence rates for Canada (excluding the Territories) were almost identical in both sources for the before-tax measure at 15.3% and only slightly higher (0.6 percentage points) in census than SLID for the after-tax rate.

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