In the original story about the latest data from the 2011 National Household Survey, (“And, the National Household Survey says,” Yorkton This Week, July 10, 2013) the high school graduate percentages were reversed between 2011 and 2006. Normally, we would simply run a correction of the erroneous data, but because certain conclusions and analysis were affected by the juxtaposed numbers, we present the article again in its entirety with the appropriate corrections.
Yorkton This Week apologizes for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the error.
Results from the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) released in June may indicate more Yorkton residents are completing high school.
In 2011, 25.2 per cent of adults 25 and older reported having no high school certificate or post-secondary education compared to 28.2 in 2006, while 29.6 per cent listed a high school diploma as their highest level of education up from 26.7 per cent.
While this appears to be good news, critics of the NHS, which was voluntary to fill out, complain the data is not as reliable as the Long Form Census (LFC), which was mandatory. Some cities, including Toronto, Canada’s largest metropolitan census area, have decided to completely scrap using NHS data for planning purposes-—although that also has been criticized as being politically-motivated.
In Yorkton, city manager Dave Putz confirmed the City has used census data in the past for planning purposes. He said the City will be looking at the NHS data, evaluating it and may use it again, but only in conjunction with supplementary data sources, which has always been Yorkton’s practice.
Other experts, however, think criticism of the survey is overblown because the LFC was never perfect either.
For example, Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker said the groups critics fear will be under-represented—the poor, aboriginals, young adult males and the elderly—weren’t filling out the mandatory survey either.
If that is the case, either method has only ever provided a snapshot of life in Canada, one that any good statistician knows needs to be corroborated to be useful, particularly at the local level and when quantitative results seem surprising based on qualitative analysis.
In that respect, the Yorkton numbers are not all that shocking. Those reporting having completed some form of post-secondary education in Yorkton remained almost identical at 45.1 and 45.0 per cent respectively, which lags well behind the national average of 59.6 per cent.
According to the data, there has been a slight shift in the type of post-secondary education Yorktonites are obtaining. Certificates in the trades were up from 13.1 per cent in 2006 to 14.4 per cent. Those with university degrees or certificates were down to 14.3 per cent compared to 15.6 per cent.
In terms of what people in Yorkton studied, a comparison is extremely difficult because the categories changed dramatically between the 2006 LFC and the 2011 NHS, but it is safe to say health- and business-related fields remain at the top of the list.
The latest data from the NHS also included labour force numbers.
In 2011, 64.1 per cent of the population reported being part of the city’s workforce. In 2006, that number was 63.8. Of those, the number of unemployed was slightly lower in 2011 at 5.0 per cent compared to 5.7 per cent five years earlier.
There were no big surprises in top occupations and industries either.
Sales and service occupations topped the list, followed by construction. The most common industries were retail, health care and construction.