Introduction

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The Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID) is an important source of Canadian data on family, household and personal income. First conducted in 1993, SLID complements traditional surveys on labour market activity and income by adding another dimension: changes that affect individuals or families over time. At the heart of the survey's objectives is understanding the economic well-being of Canadians.

Statistics Canada has long had a process in place by which survey estimates are revised once a new series of postcensal population estimates becomes available. Just as a historical revision of the Labour Force Survey was done in 2011 (Statistics Canada, 2011a), a revision of SLID was also required. Up to 2009, estimates from SLID were based on 2001 Census population data. With the release of the 2010 data, all the estimates are based on population counts from the 2006 Census. In light of this revision, the total Canadian population in 2009 was revised downward by 0.02%.

SLID improves the representativeness of its sample by adjusting the survey weights. The result is that some of the survey's population estimates for certain population sub-groups correspond to known population totals for a given year. Consequently, income estimates are of better quality and the various estimates from the survey and from external sources are more comparable (Tremblay, 2005). To adjust the weights, SLID uses different provincial counts: individual counts by age group and gender, economic family and household counts by size, and counts of individuals with employment income by wage class (LaRoche, 2003). The survey methodology is briefly explained in the annual survey documentation.

In December 2011, the Demography Division released the new population, economic entity and household estimates derived from the 2006 Census (Statistics Canada, 2011b). Individual counts and the distribution of economic entities and households by size were both revised. The total Canadian population fell slightly following the revision, but there were more significant changes in the economic entities and households. The new estimates were produced using a new method based on tax data. The results of this comparison show that the new method produces estimates that are closer to the adjusted census figures than the maintainer rate method (Bérard-Chagnon, 2012). These new population estimates were used to recalculate all the SLID weights between 2006 and 2009 inclusive. The reweighting resulted in a historical revision of the time series produced by the survey.

This paper presents a summary of the impact of the revision on the key national and provincial estimates produced by SLID. The next section discusses the direct impact on population counts for individuals, households and families (economic entities). Impact on survey estimates deals with the indirect impact of the revision on the main survey estimates, namely family type, income and low income, while Impact on previous findings presents the impact on previous findings. Lastly, Limitations cautions on comparisons between the periods 2002-2005 and 2006-2009. Provincial statistics are provided in the Statistical tables and graphs.

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