A student has asked me about the following 2001 Census table:
This table shows ‘Gross Rent as a percentage of 2000 Household Income’. What is confusing under ‘gross rent’ is the presence of both a “50% and over” category and a “50-99%” category. Why have both categories, and what is the practical difference between them?
The 2001 Census Dictionary (http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Reference/dict/appendices/92-378-XIE02002.pdf ) does not include the 50-99% category for this variable.
EXCERPT FROM 2001 CENSUS DICTIONARY
Owner.s Major Payments or Gross Rent as a Percentage of Household
Part A . Plain Language Definition
Percentage of a household.s average total monthly income which is spent on shelter-related expenses.
Those expenses include the monthly rent (for tenants) or the mortgage payment (for owners) and the
costs of electricity, heat, municipal services, etc. The percentage is calculated by dividing the total
shelter-related expenses by the household.s total monthly income and multiplying the result by 100.
Part B . Detailed Definition
Refers to the proportion of average monthly 2000 total household income which is spent on owner's major
payments (in the case of owner-occupied dwellings) or on gross rent (in the case of tenant-occupied
dwellings). This concept is illustrated below:
(a) Owner-occupied non-farm dwellings:
Owner's major payments X 100 = ___%
(2000 total annual household income) /12
(b) Tenant-occupied non-farm dwellings:
Gross rent X 100 = ___%
(2000 total annual household income) /12
Censuses: 2001 (1/5 sample), 1996 (1/5 sample), 1991 (1/5 sample), 1986 (1/5 sample), 1981
Reported for: Private households in owner- or tenant-occupied non-farm dwellings
Question Nos.: Derived variable: Questions 51, H6 (a), (b), (c), H7, H8 (a), (c) and (f)
Responses: Not applicable
Remarks: The response categories used in the census products are as follows: less than 15%;
15-19%; 20-24%; 25-29%; 30-34%; 35-39%; 40-49%; 50% and over.
1) I had to consult with the Census division for a specific explanation in regards to your question. Their answer is as follows:
"Gross rent Refers to the proportion of average monthly 2000 total household income which is spent on owner's major payments (in the case of owner-occupied dwellings) or on gross rent (in the case of tenant-occupied dwellings).
The relatively high shelter cost to household income ratios for some households may have resulted from the difference in the reference period for shelter cost and household income data. The reference period for shelter cost data (gross rent for tenants, and owner's major payments for owners) is 2001, while household income is reported for the year 2000. As well, for some households the 2000 household income may represent income for only part of a year.
In the category "Average monthly total of all shelter expenses paid by tenant households", "Gross rent" includes the monthly rent and the costs of electricity, heat and municipal services.
In the case below, 4,795 represents 50% and over while 2,920 represents 50-99%. Therefore 1,875 spend over 99% of their total household income on Gross rent."
I hope this clarifies the numbers shown in the table.
As well, we suggest you use the numbers provided in this table cautiously. There are notes in regards to the reference period for shelter cost and household income data wich you may access by clicking on the link "More information on this product is available here.", provided under the table you have referenced.
2) I received a similar response from our Census consultant, and I also received some information regarding why the 50-99% category wasn't included in the 2001 Census Dictionary. The consultant concluded that this was an oversight because the dictionary is produced before some of the standard products are released:
"The dictionary is usually produced before the standard products are released and at times after analysis of the data by our subject matter experts they may decide to include additional breakdowns or to remove breakdowns do to the quality of the data."
However, she is going to suggest that the 50-99% category be added to the 2011 Dictionary, and asked me to thank you for bringing the issue to her attention.