A Review of Procedures for Estimating the Net Undercount of Censuses in Canada, the United States, Britain and Australia - ARCHIVED

Articles and reports: 91F0015M1998005


All countries that organize censuses have concerns about data quality and coverage error. Different methods have been developed in evaluating the quality of census data and census undercount. Some methods make use of information independent of the census itself, while some others are designed to check the internal consistency of the data. These are expensive and complicated operations.

Given that the population in each country is organized differently and that the administrative structures differ from one country to another, no universal method can be applied. In order to compare the methods and identify their strengths and gaps, Demography Division of Statistics Canada has reviewed the procedures used in four industrialized countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and, of course, Canada. It appears from this review that demographic analysis can help considerably in the identification of inconsistencies through comparisons of consecutive censuses, while micro-level record linkage and survey based procedures are essential in order to estimate the number of people omitted or counted twice in census collection. The most important conclusion from this review is that demographers and statisticians have to work together in order to evaluate the figures the accuracy of which will always remain questionable.

Issue Number: 1998005
Author(s): Kerr, Don

Main Product: Demographic Documents

FormatRelease dateMore information
PDFMarch 27, 1998