The Challenges of Updating the Deprivation Index with Data from the 2011 Census and the National Household Survey (NHS)

In 2011, the Canadian National Household Survey (NHS) replaced the long-form census, introducing a potential bias regarding the small-scale use of NHS data and having an incidence on the deprivation index update.

This document outlines the methodological scenarios that were tested in order to update the 2011 deprivation index.

  • The replacement of the long-form census by the voluntary National Household Survey (NHS) in 2011 led to a sharp increase in the global non-response rate.
  • Updating the material and social deprivation index (MSDI) with 2011 data risks to introduce a non-response bias and lead to inaccurate results.
  • Four versions of the 2011 MSDI featuring various adjustments were tested to assess its quality and to identify the most comparable and accurate version for longitudinal analyses.
  • Differences between versions proved to be minimal. The version without any adjustments produces similar results to the other versions. It was selected as the simplest and easiest to compare to previous indexes.
  • The 2011 MSDI update delivers very satisfactory results for the various analyzed criteria, but requires a complex and lengthy procedure needing the collaboration of Statistics Canada for use of their master file.
  • The deprivation index remains a very good means of measuring social inequalities at the national, provincial, and regional level, especially when individual socioeconomic information is unavailable in administrative databases.
Types of Publication
ISBN (Digital)
Santecom Number
Publication date