Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012
Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012: Concepts and Methods Guide
- Main page
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Survey content: concepts and questions
- 3. Survey design
- 4. Data collection
- 5. Data processing
- 6. Weighting
- 7. Data quality
- 8. Differences between the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and other data sources
- 9. Data dissemination
- More information
- PDF version
8. Differences between the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and other data sources
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- 8.1 Differences between the Aboriginal Peoples Survey and the National Household Survey
- 8.2 Differences between the 2006 APS and the 2012 APS
Due to a number of differences in methodology between the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), previous Aboriginal Peoples Surveys and other Statistics Canada surveys, comparisons of data between sources should be done with caution. The following sections of this document provide a detailed review of items affecting data comparability, providing data users with important information on factors to consider when conducting analyses with APS data.
The APS selects its sample from respondents with specific responses in the NHS. More detailed information about how NHS responses were used to determine the population of interest for the APS is provided in section 3 (Survey design).
The NHS and the APS are both rich sources of information on Aboriginal peoples that complement each other. The APS takes concepts that are touched on in the NHS and asks questions that dig deeper in order to provide more detailed information. For instance, the NHS provides information on academic qualifications obtained (certificates, diplomas and degrees, from questions 27 to 30). Adding information from the APS provides an opportunity to learn more about any schooling below high school completion, whether teachers were Aboriginal people, whether financial assistance was obtained to pursue post-secondary schooling or why people did not continue their schooling.
The APS also covers entire topics or themes that are not included in the NHS. For example, the APS can provide detailed information on the employment and health of Aboriginal peoples.
Although both surveys cover the “identity population” by design, the 2012 APS, unlike the 2006 APS, did not cover the “ancestry-only population” described in section 3. (NHS respondents reporting Aboriginal ancestry-only were part of the APS sample because they had a non-negligible probability of reporting identity on the APS, and these respondents only remained in the APS data set if they actually reported Aboriginal identity in the APS).
In general, the Aboriginal identity population counts on the 2012 APS for certain subpopulations may differ from those obtained from the NHS, even if the population universe for the NHS is restricted to that of the APS. The second post-stratification described in section 6.5 ensured that the number of individuals with Aboriginal identity was the same in the NHS and the APS, but this applied only to certain combinations of Aboriginal group, region and age group. However, the Aboriginal identity population counts may differ for other subpopulations which were not controlled for during post-stratification. Moreover, for a given individual, the Aboriginal identity reported may differ in some cases between the NHS and the APS. There are a number of reasons why Aboriginal identity may not be the same on both surveys.
8.1.1 Different interview methods and impact of proxy reporting
In most regions, 2011 NHS data were collected by self-enumeration. Questionnaires were completed on the Internet or returned by mail. For Indian reserves and remote areas, including Inuit communities, Census interviewers were used. Often one member of the household completed the NHS form for all members of the household. This is called proxy reporting.
As described in section 4, the APS data were collected by computer-assisted interview (CAI) from the individual selected for most adults and from the parent or guardian for most children (direct interview was also allowed for those 15 to 17 years with the consent of the parent or guardian). Because the person contacted for the APS may not be the same person who filled in the Census questionnaire, there may be some differences in responses to similar questions.
8.1.2 Different questionnaires
The Aboriginal self-reporting question is one of the other sources of discrepancy between the NHS and the APS. For the 2012 APS, this question was divided into two parts as described in section 8.2.3. In addition, although there is no question on Aboriginal ancestry in the 2012 APS, the NHS asks a question on ethnic or cultural origins (question 17) immediately before the NHS question on Aboriginal self-reporting (question 18). Several Aboriginal origins are included as examples in the NHS ethnic or cultural origins question. This might affect the responses provided to question 18 on Aboriginal self-reporting.
The wording of the first question on Aboriginal self-reporting on the APS is slightly different from that of NHS question 18. Among other things, the term “North American Indian” in brackets after the term “First Nations” is not directly mentioned in the wording of the corresponding APS question. It is however explained in a note to the interviewer that the terms “First Nations” and “North American Indian” are interchangeable.
These differences in the questionnaire may lead to differences in how respondents answer.
8.1.3 Different contexts
The NHS questionnaire asks a limited number of general questions for the entire population of Canada, while the APS is specifically targeted to Aboriginal people. Consequently, given the more refined context of the APS, the concept of Aboriginal identity may be understood more clearly. Hence, it is possible that individuals who had reported being Aboriginal on the NHS may no longer report themselves as being Aboriginal in the APS. Conversely, individuals who had reported Aboriginal ancestry-only in the NHS may later report Aboriginal identity in the APS.
8.1.4 Effect of time
The concept of Aboriginal identity may not be a static characteristic in time. Events affecting the rights of certain Aboriginal groups or changes in the general population’s perception of Aboriginal Peoples may affect the way in which Aboriginal identity questions are answered. Individuals who see themselves as having only Aboriginal ancestry at one point in time may later self-report as being Aboriginal. Furthermore, individuals may see themselves as First Nations people at a certain point in time and Métis at another.
It is very important to point out that, for the 2012 APS, all individuals who were either Status Indian or a member of a First Nation/Indian band but who had not also self-reported as Aboriginal were imputed as being a First Nations person on the APS. As such, this relatively small group in the NHS does not exist on the final APS data file. Hence, when comparing NHS and 2012 APS Aboriginal identity counts by Aboriginal group, NHS respondents who were either Status Indian or a member of a First Nation/Indian band and who did not self-report as Aboriginal should be included in the estimate for First Nations people.
8.1.6 Differences in the estimates
The following tables compare NHS estimates to APS estimates for different geographic regions and Aboriginal groups. The four Inuit regions are separated from the rest of Canada.
Table 6 compares NHS estimates to APS estimates for the Aboriginal identity population without double counting. This is the Aboriginal identity population aged 6 and over as of February 1, 2012, living in private dwellings excluding persons living on Indian reserves or settlements and excluding certain First Nations communities in Yukon and the NWT, which corresponds to the APS coverage. Note that for the NHS, there is a “Status Indian or member of a First Nation/Indian band only” category, which does not exist for the APS after imputation (cases such as these were imputed as First Nations people for the APS). A column has been created for the total of the NHS “First Nations” and “Status Indian or member of a First Nation / Indian band only” categories.
Table 7 is similar but reflects the double count. Hence, a person with a multiple identity of First Nations and Métis will be counted in the First Nations category as well as in the Métis category.
All counts in the next tables are rounded to the nearest 10. Since totals are rounded independently from individual cells, the cells may not add up exactly to the corresponding totals.
A number of major changes took place between the 2006 APS and the 2012 APS, not only in terms of survey content but also in terms of methodology. Because of these changes, caution should be exercised when comparing population estimates from the two surveys. In fact, the APS dissemination strategy has never been focused on the production of Aboriginal population counts. The strategy was, rather, to present the characteristics of the population for certain subgroups using proportions.
8.2.1 Methodological differences
In the case of the methodology, the most significant difference between the 2012 APS and the 2006 APS comes from the fact that the Aboriginal ancestry-only population was no longer part of the survey’s target population in 2012 as it was in 2006. In fact, no question on Aboriginal ancestry was asked at the time of 2012 APS. It should be remembered that individuals reporting Aboriginal ancestry-only on the NHS were sampled because of their non-negligible probability of reporting identity on the APS. Since the 2012 target population no longer included the Aboriginal ancestry-only population, it was possible to adjust the weights at the time of the second post-stratification so that the identity counts matched those of the NHS for certain combinations of region, Aboriginal group and age group (section 6.5). In 2006, however, it was not possible to adjust both the identity and ancestry-only counts. The second post-stratification had ensured that the total Aboriginal population (identity or ancestry), as estimated from the APS screening questions, matched those from the Census screening questions. This post-stratification had been carried out by geographic region and age group, based on the total number of Aboriginal people on the 2006 Census and not by each Aboriginal group.
These two very distinct post-stratification strategies between 2006 and 2012 mean that growth in the Aboriginal population cannot be measured from the 2006 and 2012 APS. In 2006, because there were fewer shifts from Aboriginal identity to Aboriginal ancestry-only or from Aboriginal identity to non-Aboriginal (neither identity nor ancestry) than there were shifts between Aboriginal ancestry-only and Aboriginal identity between the Census and the APS, the Aboriginal identity counts according to the 2006 APS were higher than those of the 2006 Census and the Aboriginal ancestry-only counts were lower on the 2006 APS than on the 2006 Census.
Another important difference in methodology is the fact that the 2006 APS sample was selected from respondents to the 2006 Census, while the 2012 APS sample was selected from respondents to the 2011 NHS. The characteristics of respondents to the NHS may be different than those of respondents to a census. The fact that non-respondents have different characteristics than respondents creates what is called non-response bias. Despite the fact that the NHS used follow-up strategies and non-response adjustment strategies at weighting to reduce this bias, it is possible that some non-response bias still remains. See section 7.3.2 for more details.
8.2.2 Content differences
As for content, section 8.1.2 explains that one major difference between the two most recent cycles of the APS was the fact that the question on Aboriginal self-reporting was divided into two parts on the 2012 APS (details are given in the following section). This could clearly lead to differences in how individuals respond in terms of Aboriginal self-reporting. Another very important difference is the fact that, in 2012, the Aboriginal self-reporting question was no longer preceded, as was the case in 2006, by three questions on Aboriginal ancestry (three questions in one). These three 2006 questions on Aboriginal ancestry probably meant that individuals were more likely to self-report as Aboriginal to the next question and were more likely to report multiple identities. Indeed, the proportion of individuals with multiple Aboriginal identities was much higher in 2006 than in 2012.
8.2.3 Changes to Aboriginal identity questions
Several changes were made to the 2012 APS questions measuring Aboriginal identity compared to the corresponding questions in the 2006 APS. Some of these changes reflect those introduced on the 2011 National Household Survey compared to the 2006 Census. Changes were made in order to enhance measurement accuracy, to reflect current terminology and to reflect recent legislative changes.
Self-reported Aboriginal group
For the 2012 APS, the measurement of self-reported Aboriginal group was divided into two parts, as shown in the table below. This was intended to enhance measurement by allowing respondents to self-report as Aboriginal in question ID_Q01 even if they did not identify with a specific group as named in ID_Q02. For 2012, the term “First Nations” was introduced for the first time. In 2006, the term “North American Indian” was used solely. In addition, the 2012 question clarified to respondents that the term “First Nations” includes both Status and Non-Status Indians. Finally, 2012 included both the terms “Inuk” and “Inuit”, whereas 2006 only referred to “Inuk”.
|2012 APS||2006 APS|
ID_Q01 - Are you an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations, Métis or Inuk (Inuit)? First Nations includes Status and Non-Status Indians.
ID_Q02 - Are you First Nations, Métis or Inuk (Inuit)?
|Are you an Aboriginal person, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuk?|
|2011 NHS||2006 Census|
Is this person an Aboriginal person, that is, First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit)?
Note: First Nations (North American Indian) includes Status and Non-Status Indians.
|Is this person an Aboriginal
person, that is, North
American Indian, Métis or
Status Indian (Registered or Treaty Indian)
For the 2012 APS, the main question measuring “Status Indian” (ID_Q03) was re-worded with the term “Status” being used for the first time. Subsequent questions were updated to reflect a change to legislation in 2011: an amendment to the Indian Act called Bill C-3, Gender Equity in Indian Registration Act.
|2012 APS||2006 APS|
|ID_Q03 - Are you a Status Indian, that is, a Registered or Treaty Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada?||Are you a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada?|
|ID_Q04A - Have you ever applied to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (previously named INAC) to be registered as a Status Indian under Bill C-31 or Bill C-3?||Have you ever applied to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development to be registered as a status Indian under Bill C-31?|
|ID_Q04B - Have you been registered as a Status Indian under Bill C-31 or Bill C-3?||Have you been registered as a Status Indian under Bill C-31?|
|2011 NHS||2006 Census|
Is this person a Status Indian (Registered or Treaty Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada)?
(asked before First Nation/Indian band question for first time)
Is this person a Treaty
Member of a First Nation or Indian band
For the 2012 APS, the term “First Nation” precedes the term “Indian band”; in 2006 the term “Indian band” came first.
|2012 APS||2006 APS|
|ID_Q05 - Are you a member of a First Nation or Indian band?||Are you a member of an Indian Band or First Nation?|
|2011 NHS||2006 Census|
|Is this person a member of a First Nation/Indian band?||Is this person a member
of an Indian Band / First