Analysing the job market for babysitting in your neighbourhood (2006 Census)


Students research the demographic profiles of a neighbourhood in a large urban centre or community, retrieving data that will help them analyse the job market for babysitters. They will develop a better understanding of how population dynamics can affect them, directly and indirectly.

Contributor: Linda McCormick, Learning resources, Statistics Canada.


Suggested grade levels and subject areas

Geography, Social Studies


Students will


Census tract— Census Tracts (CTs) are small geographic units representing urban or rural 'neighbourhood-like' communities. They should be as homogeneous as possible in terms of socio-economic characteristics such as economic status and social living conditions. The population of a CT should range between 2,500 and 8,000, with a preferred average of 4,000.

Postal code — A six-character code defined and maintained by Canada Post Corporation for sorting and delivering mail.

Random rounding — To ensure confidentiality, the values, including totals, are randomly rounded either up or down to a multiple of 5. To understand these data, users must be aware that each individual value is rounded. As a result, when these data are summed or grouped, the total value may not match the individual values. Similarly, percentages, which are calculated on rounded data, may not add to 100%.



Classroom instructions

  1. Introduce the census and census tracts. You should also describe 'random rounding' as students will likely notice that all numbers end with a 0 or a 5.
  2. Distribute copies of the worksheet to your students.
  3. Working individually or in pairs, students access E-STAT.
  4. Have students conduct research on their neighbourhoods on E-STAT and complete the worksheet.
  5. Discuss the question posed on the worksheet as a class. During the discussion on the number of potential babysitters, the students should point out that older individuals can compete for higher wages in the formal job market and therefore are less likely to babysit. They may mention that few males babysit. Wages usually depend on demand; therefore, a neighbourhood with relatively few babysitters might have higher hourly rates. Age ranges are not optimal for evaluating the 'sitters market' as they conflict with legislation that stipulates the age children may be left at home alone, and the age they may start working in the formal job market. Also, because these data were collected in 2006, all of the individuals counted will be older now and may have moved up an age category.


Class discussion on how and why governments might use this information. Compare two or more neighbourhoods to see if the relative demand for sitters is different. Use the population estimates from CANSIM to retrieve data for more recent time periods.