Defending the Census

John Lorinc, author of the New City, points out the many ways that the Canadian long-form census -- which is set to be scrapped -- informs city planning, strategic planning and social service provision.

Lorinc and Tavia Grant describe in the Globe and Mail how the federal government's plan to end the long-form census in Canada will have serious implications for city planning and social services:

"Home builders and condo developers say they increasingly turn to market research firms run by economists who pore over census long-form data so they know who potential buyers are, the distances they're willing to travel between home and work, how many bedrooms those customers want, even the optimal location of the neighbourhood parkette.

Municipal economic development offices from Halifax to Victoria all publish local census data to help businesses looking to invest. City planners also monitor census patterns so they can make decisions about local services. In the 1980s, for instance, such data revealed a rising number of low-income families and immigrants settling in St. James Town, a dense cluster of Toronto apartments originally targeted for young singles. In the mid-1990s, that insight prompted the city to develop a new library, recreation facilities and childcare spaces to serve a fast-growing neighbourhood of 15,000 people."

Thanks to Government/Politics

Full Story: Why the census matters just about everywhere

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