Thursday, September 19, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, September 19, 2013

Poorest Hamilton neighbourhoods vanish from new census

The death of the long-form census has left Hamilton full of “black holes” of neighbourhood data, leaving out many of its poorest areas.
According to a new report from the Social Planning and Research Council, that could lead to bad policy choices and inappropriate spending that won’t help the people who need it most.

That means decisions on social program funding will be made “scrambling in the dark,” says Sara Mayo, social planner with the council.

“It’s a huge concern in Hamilton,” she said. “It’s vital to have data from these neighbourhoods.”

Statistics Canada won’t be publishing neighbourhood data from sixteen City of Hamilton census tracts, compared to just two in 2006 when the mandatory long form census was still being used. Under the current National Household Survey — which is voluntary — the Hamilton CMA has 17 census tracts with missing data, second only to Montreal.

The long-form census was scrapped by the Conservatives in 2010. Statistics Canada published the final batch of data from the National Household Survey Wednesday, but the release was delayed for a month because of a glitch in the agency’s formulas. (Source: CBC News)