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Data & Statistics: Microdata

A guide to help you find data and statistics - useful to students and researchers across many disciplines

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What are microdata?

Microdata are composed of individual records containing information collected on persons, households, or other entities. The responses of each person to the different questions are recorded in separate variables. Microdata stand in contrast to more familiar "summary" or "aggregate" data. Aggregate data are compiled statistics, such as a table of marital status by sex for some locality. Microdata are inherently flexible. One need not depend on published statistics from a census that compiled the data in a certain way, if at all. Users can generate their own statistics from the data in any manner desired, including individual-level multivariate analyses.

Sources of Microdata

Important: If a PUMF does not meet your needs, consider applying to use the corresponding confidential master file at the UNBC Research Data Centre. The variables for many of the master files may be reviewed in DLI Nesstar and <odesi>.

Located in the UNBC Library, the UNBC Research Data Centre (RDC) provides Northern BC researchers with the opportunity to access and analyze detailed microdata from an increasing array of survey, census and administrative data. Researchers working in RDCs have access to Statistics Canada Statistical Assistants and Analysts who can provide advice and assistance to researchers. Graduate and honours students are also encouraged to apply to use the data to support their research. In most cases, use of the RDC is free for researchers affiliated with UNBC.

They are happy to discuss research opportunities available within the RDC, and to provide assistance with matching your research ideas and topics to the data available in our collection. Contact the RDC at or 250-960-5332.

Data Services Librarian

Sarah Giesbrecht's picture
Sarah Giesbrecht
Geoffrey R. Weller Library, Room 5-487