Survey on Ageing and Independence

Detailed information for 1991




One Time

Record number:


The purpose of the survey is to provide "baseline" information on factors important to remaining independent in the community as one ages and to measure a wide range of characteristics of Canadians, 45 years of age and older.

Data release - January 23, 1995


This national survey is sponsored by Health Canada, Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Communications Canada, Veterans Affairs and Secretary of State. The purpose of the survey is to provide "baseline" information on factors important to remaining independent in the community as one ages and to measure a wide range of characteristics of Canadians, 45 years of age and older.

Collection period: September 1991


  • Population aging
  • Population and demography

Data sources and methodology

Target population

Canadian civilian population aged 45 and over. Specifically excluded from the survey's coverage are residents of the Yukon and Northwest Territories, persons living on Indian Reserves, full-time members of the Canadian Armed Forces and residents of institutions.

Instrument design

The survey instruments were designed with the assistance of a group of researchers interested in ageing issues, collectively known as "CARNET" (the Canadian Aging Research NETwork).

Two types of tests were conducted before launching collection for the main survey. One type consisted of a quality assessment of the questionnaire content and format by way of focus groups and in-depth interviews. The second type involved the actual conduct of telephone or personal interviews in order to test the collection procedures and the average duration of the interview.


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

The Survey on Ageing and Independence was based upon a sub-sample of former Labour Force Survey (LFS) respondents. A representative sample of 25,000 persons aged 45 or over across Canada was selected from the September 1990 - June 1991 Labour Force files. The use of former LFS respondents was advantageous in that information on persons' ages was available to efficiently tailor the sample to meet the specific survey requirements in particular, the desire to focus more of the sample on people in the older age groups.

Two constraints were observed in the selection of the sample for the survey. Firstly, only one person within a household was selected. Secondly, in those households containing at least one person aged 70 or over, one person from that age group was selected with certainty, in order to meet the targeted oversampling of the older age groups. To satisfy these constraints, and at the same time select a probability sub-sample that would meet the data requirements, the procedure below was followed.

Households were first sorted according to whether they contained anyone aged 70 years or older. In households containing people in this age group, one such person was selected. From the remaining households, one person aged 45 to 69 years was selected randomly. Records representing selected individuals were then sorted according to province and age and the required sample was then randomly selected within these categories according to targeted allocations.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: September 1991

Responding to this survey is voluntary.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents.

30 minute telephone interview of pre-selected respondents.

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

Error detection

The first stage of survey processing involved editing all survey records according to prespecified edit rules to check for errors, gaps and inconsistencies in the survey data. Checks were made to ensure that numerical answers to certain questions fell within acceptable logical ranges. Checks were also made to ensure that portions of the questionnaire that were to be skipped in the interview because of a previous answer were in fact, skipped. Where errors or inconsistencies were found, the erroneous information was blanked out and replaced by a "not stated" response.

Editing was mostly "top-down" meaning that when a flow question was encountered, the flow pattern indicated by the response of that question was accepted as true.


The principles behind the calculation of the weights for the Survey on Ageing and Independence are identical to those for the LFS. However, four adjustments are made to the LFS weights in order to derive a final weight for the individual records on the Ageing and Independence microdata file.

(1) An adjustment to reflect the selection probabilities associated with the LFS sub sample.

(2) An adjustment to account for the additional non response to the Survey on Ageing and Independence i.e., non response to the Survey on Ageing and Independence for individuals who do respond to the LFS or for whom previous month's LFS data is brought forward.

(3) A re-adjustment to account for independent province age sex projections, after the above adjustments are made.

(4) A re-adjustment to account for independent economic region - census metropolitan area projections, after the above adjustments are made.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any data which would divulge information obtained under the Statistics Act that relates to any identifiable person, business or organization without the prior knowledge or the consent in writing of that person, business or organization. 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.

To maintain respondent confidentiality, certain variables have been suppressed on the microdata file. Any suppressed variables have been noted in the codebook.

Data accuracy

The overall response rate was 81%.

The major variables of interest are categorical in nature. Sampling variability tables accompany the documentation which are used to determine approximate coefficients of variation.


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