Statistics Canada has admitted that “there may be an overestimation” in the number of same-sex ‘married’ couples from the 2011 census, after the government agency mistakenly counted some same gender roommates as gay couples.
Stats Canada warned that the census data should be “used with caution.”
While same-sex couples — both ‘married’ and common law — accounted for merely 0.8% of all couples in 2011, the numbers showed same-sex ‘married’ couples nearly tripled: that is, until analyzers realized that many of the “couples” polled may have been migrant workers who were splitting rent with other migrant workers of the same gender and who both happened to be married, but not to each other.
Statistics Canada noted today that it may have overestimated the number of same-sex ‘married’ couples by 4,500.
“We observed that there was a possible over estimation of same-sex families,” said census manager Marc Hamel to The Globe and Mail. “The counts for some smaller communities seemed too high.”
Hamel noted that the number of ‘married’ same-sex couples seemed especially high in places like Alberta and Saskatchewan where rent sharers who left a wife back home could have been counted as a couple.
“We seem to observe that [trend] in more transient communities where we have a lot of temporary workers coming in. So it could be people living together, for example, and reporting each other as married, but not necessarily to each other.”