Canada’s chief statistician resigned last month in protest of the government’s decision to replace the long-form census questionnaire, previously mandatory for 20 percent of the population, with a voluntary version. I imagine the point is that a voluntary questionnaire can’t possibly be delivering anything like a random sample of the population, though the linked article doesn’t make the statistical issues very clear. The new head census-taker says the voluntary survey will be “usable and useful” but not comparable to the previous census. Do I have any Canadian readers who can explain to me why the government thought this was a good idea?
And for Americans: did you know that the response rate for the Canadian census is 96%? Whoa.