Environics Analytics (EA), Canada’s leading provider of data-driven marketing solutions, today released the new edition of CensusPlus. The demographic dataset includes popular variables from the 2011 Census, plus enhanced data from the National Household Survey (NHS). The new EA data are intended to help address marketers’ needs for small-area data, which were not officially released by Statistics Canada.
The replacement of the mandatory long-form census with a voluntary NHS resulted in large variations in response rates among population groups. As a result, Statistics Canada did not release dissemination area (DA) data from the 2011 NHS because they did not meet their traditional quality standards. To fill the gap, EA developed processes to produce DA data for the most popular NHS data themes used by marketers. Many businesses, not-for-profits and government agencies rely on data at the DA level (an average 250-300 households) to make informed decisions about their trade areas and service districts.
“Dissemination areas are the fundamental building blocks of trade areas,” says Doug Norris, Ph.D., the Chief Demographer with EA. “Businesses analyze their customers at the DA level. Government agencies use them to define neighbourhoods to determine what kind of services they need. But one of the consequences of the voluntary census was a 68 percent response rate and the inability to get consistent results for all population groups at small areas of geography.”
Directed by Norris and Chief Methodologist Tony Lea, Ph.D., EA’s modelling statisticians spent many months applying industry best practices to develop estimates of DA-level data for the NHS. These methods filled in missing values and eliminated random rounding for both NHS and Census data. The key inputs for creating reliable DA-level NHS data included custom-ordered NHS tables, suppressed for confidentiality but not quality. The result is a dataset for NHS-based variables that is consistent with the 2011 Census data derived from the compulsory Census. CensusPlus provides more than a thousand demographic variables available for any geographic level—be it standard census and postal geographies or custom client trade areas.
“Our clients depend on good data to understand their customers and markets,” says Jan Kestle, President of EA. “But for 2011, they weren’t able to get the neighbourhood-level data that they need. It was important for us to create the best possible substitute as the base for our demographic products. Now we can also offer reliable 2011 data that marketers require for small geographic areas.”
To purchase CensusPlus, EA has launched a website where businesses, not-for-profits and government agencies can obtain the specific data they need to support their marketing strategies (CensusPlus.ca).