03 June 2016

Canada's home child descendants much less than 10% of the population

Continuing with the exploration of the number of "home child" descendants in Canada, here's another more refined estimate.

Statistics Canada provides national statistics of population, immigration, emigration, births and deaths on an annual (incomplete) and decennial basis.

The population for a year is equal to the population the previous year plus births and immigrants, minus deaths and emigrants. The same is the case for home child population, but while immigration numbers are known there is no data on the birth, death and emigration for home children and their descendants.

One approach is to assume the ratio of home child to total national births, deaths and emigration is the same as the ratio of home child population to overall population.

Using total home child immigration of about 130,000, a generous definition that would include may in their late teens, home child descendants to total Canadian population peaks at 1.43% in 1940 decreasing to less than 1% in 1985 and continuing to decline.

It might well be argued that young people could be expected to have more children and a lower death rate that the population at large. This would only be the case for a decade or two following their arrival. On the other hand having once moved to Canada they would not have the roots to keep them in the country. Many returned to the UK or moved on the the US. Also some might suggest they could be traumatized by their immigration experience, have fewer children and die younger.

To examine sensitivity to the assumption the birth rate of the home child population was increased, and the death rate decreased, by 10%. The peak ratio of home children and descendants to the overall Canadian population increased to 1.66% and shifted to 1946.

Taken together with the estimate in the previous post at http://goo.gl/X5RTaK, and recognizing that a high estimate of the number of home children was used, it seems unlikely that the Canadian population with a home child ancestor does now, nor ever has, approached the frequently repeated 10%.

 "Familiarity is not easily distinguishable from truth.”
― Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

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