A Socioeconomic Scale for Canada: Measuring Occupational Status from the Census


  • Monica Boyd, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. E-mail: monica.boyd@utoronto.ca. This is a revision of a paper presented in the “Social Inequality: Determinants and Effects” session of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association annual meeting, Learned Societies, 2005. The research in this paper was part of an SSHRC grant research grant 410-2004-0650 (years 2004 to 2007) on “Socioeconomic Integration, Acculturation and Intermarriage of Immigrant Offspring” awarded to the author. The research has benefited from the author's appointment as a Visiting Senior Scholar at Statistics Canada between 2001 and 2007, although the organization is not responsible for the measures discussed in this paper and does not necessarily endorse them. The author thanks the anonymous external reviewers, Charles Nam, and Ralph Matthews for their helpful insights and comments on an earlier draft.


Cet article présente une nouvelle échelle professionnelle pour la classification nationale des professions (CNP) au Canada. En premier, l'on discute le contexte historique dans lequel la production des échelles des professions, faites par des sociologues aux Canada et aux États-Unis, s'est réalisée. La méthodologie de la récente échelle Nam–Powers–Boyd utilisée aux États-Unis est ensuite appliquée au recensement des professions de 2001. Celle-ci sert à créer des scores des statuts professionnels pour les titres professionnels de la classification nationale des professions (CNP 2001) à Statistiques Canada. Ces scores soulignent les inégalités démographiques et socio-économiques qui existent parmi les groupes au Canada. L'article se termine par une discussion des débats courants concernant l'utilisation des scores composites professionnels.

This paper provides a new occupational scale for the Canadian National Occupational Classification system. The historical context for occupational scales produced by sociologists in Canada and the United States is first discussed. The methodology used in the recent Nam–Powers–Boyd scale in the United States then is applied to the 2001 census of occupations to construct occupational status scores for the occupational titles found in the National Occupational Classification for Statistics (2001) at Statistics Canada. The occupational status scores highlight inequalities existing among groups in Canada along demographic and socioeconomic dimensions. The paper concludes with a discussion of current debates over the use of composite occupational scores.