Survey of household spending 2005: Data quality indicators

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The Survey of Household Spending (SHS) is an annual survey that collects data on household income and expenditure using personal interviews. The 2005 SHS sample consists of 21,315 households1 distributed throughout the ten provinces and the three territories. Collection takes place in January, February and March, and income and spending figures are obtained for the period from January 1 to December 31 of the previous year. Following a redesign that took place in 1997, this survey replaces the periodic Family Expenditure Survey and the Household Facilities and Equipment Survey (with modifications to questionnaires and samples).

Like all surveys, the SHS is subject to errors, despite all the precautions taken at the different stages of the survey to control them. While there is no comprehensive measure of the quality of the data generated by a survey, some quality measures produced at the different stages of the survey can provide users with the information needed in order to interpret the data properly.

This report therefore seeks to describe the quality indicators produced for the 2005 Survey of Household Spending. It covers the usual quality indicators that generally help users interpret data, such as coefficients of variation, response and nonresponse rates, slippage rates and imputation rates.

Quality indicators have been classified according to the main types of error encountered in a survey. Section 1 deals with sampling errors—that is, errors due to the fact that the inferences about the population drawn from the survey are based on information collected from a sample of the population, rather than the entire population. The subsequent sections cover errors not due to sampling.  Nonresponse and coverage errors are first discussed in sections 2 and 3. Response errors and processing errors are dealt with in sections 4 and 5 respectively.

This report focuses on data quality. For a detailed description of the methodology of the survey, see reference [1].


  1. The initial sample is made up of 25,234 dwellings. From these dwellings, it is necessary to identify and exclude ineligible dwellings (see Section 2.1) to obtain the 21,315 households from which data on income and expenditure are collected.
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