A One-Day Snapshot of Aboriginal Youth in Custody Across Canada

Chapter 1 - Introduction (continued)

1.6 Limitations of the Census Data

The 1996 Census data is subject to error (e.g. coverage, non-response, and sampling errors), and therefore the information provided for the Snapshot should be interpreted with caution. Please see appendix "B" for detailed information about the limitations of Census data (information provided by Statistics Canada).

Other considerations when using the Census data to interpret information gleaned from the Snapshot include the following:

  • Communities with a Snapshot population of less than five were not analysed. These low figures compromise confidentiality and are susceptible to large fluctuations when calculating proportions.
  • Caution must be used when interpreting the Census information in relation to the number of Aboriginal youth in custody on Snapshot day, as small changes in the number of youth in custody may produce large fluctuations when calculating proportions (e.g., 5 youth in a location with 10 Aboriginal youth, compared to 5 youth in a location with 100 Aboriginal youth).
  • There is no way to determine where the youth in the Snapshot resided when the 1996 Census was conducted (in fact, many Snapshot youth were less than 12 years of age at the time of the 1996 census). As a result, it is difficult to determine if the distribution of Aboriginal youth has changed within the last four years. Therefore, the proportions that have been provided within this study should be interpreted with caution.
  • Some youth included in the Snapshot are over 18 years of age, while the Census data only includes Aboriginal youth between the ages of 12-17. Therefore, the proportions that have been provided in this report should be interpreted with caution.

Overall, the information contained in this report will provide some context concerning the initial Snapshot questions (where youth lived, where they committed/allegedly committed their offence, and where they plan to relocate) and other information (e.g. demographic information and offence types). However, due to limitations with the data, the results must be interpreted with caution and are best understood in conjunction with other sources of information (e.g. other research or consultation with jurisdictional and community representatives as to the nature and extent of Aboriginal youth involvement with the criminal justice system).

Date modified: