What will the 2021 Census Reveal about our Changing Community?

Once every five years, Statistics Canada conducts a census of the population which provides insight into the changes in our population, illustrating how the makeup of our population is changing over time in terms of age, ethnicity, as well as where and how we live. The next data collection exercise is scheduled for this May.  Census taking has a long history in this country, having first taken place in 1666 in New France conducted under the direction of Jean Talon, the administrative head of the first European settlement in Canada.  The objective then remains today- to provide information to formulate practical policy decisions.  The 1666 review illustrated a significant discrepancy between the number of men and women in the population, triggering efforts to encourage women to immigrate to New France.

Census data provides policy and lawmakers with information about socioeconomic trends that can directly influence local decisions today, including planning for schools, daycare, housing, hospitals, emergency services, roads, public transportation and employment skills training.  The resulting statistical portrait of neighbourhoods large and small across the country also helps establish electoral boundaries, inter-governmental transfer payments and indicate the nature and level of social services required.  Demographic details describing local workforce profiles also helps businesses make investment decisions that result in job creation.

Among the topics covered are demographic variables including population counts, density and growth, a breakdown of population by age, sex and gender, household counts and family characteristics such as single parent families, same-sex, blended and multi-generational families.  The analysis seeks to provide a current understanding of demographic trends related to population again, the growing ethno-cultural diversity and regional distributions of rural and urban populations and urban spread.

The 2016 Census demonstrated a population of 8,829 in Cavan-Monaghan, and outlines a wide variety of details including their education levels and fields of study, their level and source of income, the languages they speak and their origins.  Of the 8,620 Cavan-Monaghan respondents to questions about country of origin, 635 identified themselves as first generation immigrants to Canada, another 1290 had at least one parent born in another country, and the remaining 6,695 identified themselves as third generation or longer in Canada.  Only 265 identified themselves as visible minorities.  The industries employing most Cavan-Monaghan residents were healthcare and retail, followed closely by construction and manufacturing.  Our local unemployment rate was 6.9% against a provincial average of 7.4%.  The median income for residents 15 years or older with full time employment was $56,626; with the median for males at $65,252 and for females, $48,071.

Modernization initiatives have reduced the burden of completing surveys, and changes have also been implemented to better protect the confidentiality of respondent personal information by making personal data anonymous and ensuring secure handling and storage.  This year the data collection process has also been adapted to adhere to public health measures.

Statistics Canada is currently recruiting a contract staff of 32,000 census enumerators and crew leaders across the country to assist in the data collection.  Those interesting in joining the 2021 Census team are invited to visit the website at www.census.gc.ca/jobs  where there is an on-line application form and Frequently Asked Question section providing further details about available positions.

Ultimately, the census relies on the willing support, cooperation and participation of each individual who takes the time to provide personal details by completing their questionnaires either online or on paper.  We can all benefit when everyone contributes, ensuring decision makers have access to relevant and accurate statistical information on our changing society to make decisions that affect us all.  KG

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