Monitoring Migration in the Prairie Provinces: Administrative Data Sources and Methodologies
Joe Cherwinski is a history professor at the Memorial University of
Many of those on the political right and those associated with small business have complained loud and long about the growth of government since World War II and the resultant increase in the amount of information demanded by various public agencies. While a few of their complaints are justified, the benefits which accrue far outweigh the inconvenience experienced by Canadians. Scholars are among the primary beneficiaries of governmental data-gathering apparatus and they in turn have directed their findings back to government in refined forms which in the end allow for better planning.
A knowledge of the patterns and degree of population migration is critical for government economic and social planning. To fill this need, the Canadian Plains Research Center at the University of Regina formulated the Canadian Plains Migration study a few years ago, and this book is its first tangible result.
While the first part of the study outlines the methods used to estimate migration trends, its emphasis is on those methods which use routine administrative data. Each of these sources, which include health care files, family allowance and aggregate income tax records, telephone billings and U.I.C. claims, is assessed according to its potential use as a means of studying migration. Then the methods by which the greatest amount of data can be extracted from each source are described. Finally, a case is made for more effective record-keeping so that the raw material can be of greatest use to researchers.
While Monitoring Migration in the Prairie Provinces is by and large a research tool for demographers in search of raw materials, it is also useful to other scholars for the insights it provides into mundane government records and their potential uses.