General Social Survey - Family (GSS)

Detailed information for 2017 (Cycle 31)

Status:

Active

Frequency:

Every 5 years

Record number:

4501

The two primary objectives of the General Social Survey (GSS) are: to gather data on social trends in order to monitor changes in the living conditions and well-being of Canadians over time; and to provide information on specific social policy issues of current or emerging interest.

Data release - Scheduled for autumn 2018.

Description

The General Social Survey (GSS) on the Family monitors changes in Canadian families. It collects information on: conjugal and parental history (chronology of marriages, common-law unions and children), family origins, children's home leaving, fertility intentions,and other socioeconomic characteristics.

The information collected will impact program and policy areas such as parental benefits, child care strategies, child custody and spousal support programs.

Statistical activity

This record is part of the General Social Survey (GSS) program. The GSS originated in 1985. Each survey contains a core topic, focus or exploratory questions and a standard set of socio-demographic questions used for classification. More recent cycles have also included some qualitative questions, which explore intentions and perceptions.

Subjects

  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Education, training and learning
  • Ethnic diversity and immigration
  • Families, households and housing
  • Health

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for the 2017 General Social Survey is all non-institutionalized persons 15 years of age or older, living in the 10 provinces of Canada.

Instrument design

The questionnaire was designed based on research and extensive consultations with key partners and data users. Qualitative testing, conducted by Statistics Canada's Questionnaire Design Resource Center (QDRC), was carried out, with respondents in two cities, who were screened in based on representative criteria. Questions which worked well and others that needed clarification or redesign were highlighted. QDRC staff compiled a detailed report of the results along with their recommendations. All comments and feedback from qualitative testing were carefully considered and incorporated into the survey whenever possible.

Sampling

This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

This survey uses a frame that combines landline and cellular telephone numbers from the Census and various administrative sources with Statistics Canada's dwelling frame. Records on the frame are groups of one or several telephone numbers associated with the same address (or single telephone number in the case a link between a telephone number and an address could not be established). This sampling frame is used to obtain a better coverage of households with a telephone number.

The sample is based on a stratified design employing probability sampling. The stratification is done at the province/census metropolitan area (CMA) level. Information is collected from one randomly selected household member aged 15 or older, and proxy responses are not permitted.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-11-30

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents using CATI. No proxy reporting was allowed. Respondents could be interviewed in French or English.

Tax derived files (CSDD environment).

By linking data, we are aiming to obtain better quality data for income (personal and household).

Questions relating to income show rather high non-response rates, the incomes reported by respondents are usually rough estimates. Linking will allow getting such information without having to ask questions.

The information collected during the 2017 GSS will be linked to the personal tax records (T1, T1FF or T4) of respondents, and tax records of all household members. Household information (address, postal code, and telephone number), respondent's information (social insurance number, surname, name, date of birth/age, sex) and information on other members of the household (surname, name, age, sex and relationship to respondent) will be key variables for the linkage.

Respondents were notified of the planned linkage before and during the survey. Any respondents who object to the linkage of their data will have their objections recorded, and no linkage to their tax data will take place.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

To be completed when data are released.

Imputation

To be completed when data are released.

Estimation

To be completed when data are released.

Quality evaluation

To be completed when data are released

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

To be completed when data are released.

Data accuracy

To be completed when data are released.

Documentation

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