The data landscape is changing! Here's what you should know:
New data releases are frequent (everyday!)
The majority of data about our population used to be released every five years by Statistics Canada through the Census of Population. Now, new data is released every day!
Today, the Census remains an invaluable source for population data as it provides detailed foundational data about the whole population. Although the Census is still only released every five years, its granular data is critical for advanced analytics. The increased frequency of other data releases allows census data to be connected with other population data to create the most comprehensive and up-to-date analyses ever seen before.
The release schedule on the Statistics Canada website provides details about when new datasets will be available.
Usually, the more often a data product is released, the more likely it is to reflect actual change. Higher frequency releases are helpful for decision-makers as the data is current, often representing the month or days prior to the release. Low-frequency releases, such as the Census of Population, are also relevant and helpful for decision-makers as the data is much more detailed. Combining datasets of varying levels of release frequency (and therefore granularity) provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date data for evidence-based decision making.
Interactive dashboards and visualizations are changing how data is used
The increased frequency of data releases is not the only change occurring -- the ways in which data is presented and its availability are also changing!
Until recently, it was common for most data to only be available as PDFs or single excel files. Now, you can download entire databases, manipulate interactive data modules, and explore data visualizations and infographics. Statistics Canada even has a mobile app to access data on the go!
Visualization software and interactive dashboards often make it easier for decision-makers to use and interpret data.
Check out this interactive dashboard: Labour Force Survey in brief: Interactive app
Automation and computers are more powerful than ever
Artificial intelligence, software, hardware, and advanced training are all playing a role in advancing the work of data analysts. Datasets are more easily downloaded, connected, manipulated, and used in advanced statistical analysis. This powerful technology allows data analysts to be more responsive with useful and relevant information. It also provides more time to specialize in local context that is important for incorporating more data into community decision-making.
This article has been sponsored in part by the Future Skills Centre.