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What you should know about this study

Definition of concepts and variables

Access to a household vehicle and access to a household vehicle as a driver

These categories were created by combining respondents’ responses to three different questions in the General Social Survey 2005 on time use.

  • Do you have a valid driver’s licence?
  • Do you or does any member of your household lease or own a vehicle (includes a car, van, jeep or truck)?
  • Do you have this car or truck at your disposal all the time, most of the time, rarely or never?

For purposes of this study, only people who had the household vehicle(s) at their disposal all the time or most of the time were considered to have access to a vehicle.

People who had a driver’s licence and used the vehicle either mostly as a driver or as both a driver and a passenger (with a driver’s licence) were considered to have access to a household vehicle as a driver.

Access to public transportation

Respondents in households whose members did not have a vehicle and respondents who did not have access to a household vehicle (as a driver or passenger) were asked the following question to determine whether they had access to public transportation:

  • Is public transportation, for example, bus, rapid transit or subway, available to you?

People who did not leave their residence the previous day

In the 2005 General Social Survey, respondents were asked what activities they engaged in the day before the telephone interview (as well as where these activities had taken place). This made it possible to distinguish between people who did not go out and people who went out at least once (for any reason). It should be noted that doing yard work outside one’s house, for example, is not considered leaving one’s residence.


In this article, mobility refers to people’s ability to go where they want when they want. It refers exclusively to travel outside the home. This concept has nothing to do with the kind of mobility that involves moving to a new house or changing place of residence.

Methodology and statistical models

The predicted probabilities shown in the table were calculated using two logistical regressions. They represent the estimated probability that a senior with a particular characteristic (for example, having a vehicle and a driver’s licence) remained at home the whole day (or did volunteer work) after all the other factors in the regression model were controlled for, i.e., held constant at the average value for the sample in question.

Additional statistical analyses, which included other variables, were also performed. They showed that there was no statistically significant relationship between the season and the probability of not having gone out the previous day; in other words, the probability of going out at least once during the day was just as high in winter as in summer. Urban or rural residence was also included in these supplementary analyses, but once again, no statistically significant relationship was found. This does not mean, though, that seniors in rural areas are less vulnerable (the charts in the article show the opposite) but rather that the critical factor is access to a vehicle or to public transportation, and not area of residence as such.

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Date modified: 2008-11-21 Important Notices