HDSB Releases New Student Census Results
The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has released the results of its most recent student census. The 2022 census was a voluntary survey for all students enrolled in the 2020-2021 HSDB K-12.
The 2022 census results are from the survey that ended almost a year ago, at an undetermined time in “spring 2021”.
During the 2020-2021 school year, a total of 64,613 students were invited to complete the Student Census.
The HDSB says it “confidentially collected data about students’ identities, such as their first language, ethnic and racial background, and religion. Students shared their perceptions of the school climate, sense of belonging and experiences of bullying”. For students in grades 7 and above, they were also asked questions about their “gender identity and sexual orientation”.
Here are some highlights of the HDSB student census results this year:
To note: the results of this census are for Halton District School Board students only, and does not include those of the Halton Catholic District School Board.
- Over 50,000 students across the school board have agreed to participate in the student census
- Nearly a quarter of all students learned multiple languages at home during early childhood
- Over 50% of all students in grades 9-12 in the board identified multiple ethnic or cultural identities
- There are significant differences in racial and religious makeup between elementary school students (K-Grade 8) and high school students (Grade 9-12), showing the changing demographics of incoming students
- One in six high school students identify with a sexual orientation do not heterosexual/hetero
- Between 6 and 8% of all students report having some kind of disability
Here are some relevant statistical highlights for eight of the nine main categories covered by the census.
- Elementary students in 4th to 8th grade had the highest 93% participation rate
- Secondary school students in Grades 9 to 12+ had a 84% participation rate
- The lowest turnout was among Kindergarten to Grade 3 at 59%
Overall, the participation rate was 81%. A total of 51,524 HDSB students participated in the 2020-2021 Student Census.
At the primary level, 35,495 students (from kindergarten to grade 8) responded to the student census, representing a participation rate of 78%, and 16,029 secondary students (from grades 9 to 12), completed the student census, which represents a participation rate of 84%.
English is the first language learned by the majority of primary and secondary school students. In the HDSB, 22% and 24% of primary (K-8th grade) and secondary (9th-12th grade) students, respectively, learned multiple languages as their first language(s) during early childhood.
The top 10 languages learned by HDSB students include: English, Arabic, French, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tamil and Urdu.
ETHNICITY / CULTURAL CONTEXT
Respondents selected their ethnic/cultural background by choosing from a list of options and/or entering their ethnic/cultural background(s) in an open text box.
The ethnic/cultural groups most frequently reported by elementary students (K-8) were: Canadian, English, Pakistani, Chinese, Irish and Scottish, with 36% (over a third) identify with multiple ethnic/cultural identities.
The single ethnic/cultural groups most frequently reported by secondary school students (Grades 9-12) were: Canadian, English, Chinese, Irish, Scottish, Pakistani, German, Italian and French, with 50% identify with multiple ethnic/cultural identities.
Parents/guardians of students in grades K-3 and all students in grades 4-12 were asked to choose from a list of racial identities.
While White was the most common answer (at 44% for elementary and 52% for high school), meaning that more than half of all HDSB students do not identify as white or predominantly white. The second most common at both levels was South Asianthe first five also including from East Asia, Middle East and Multiracial.
RELIGION / SPIRITUAL AFFILIATION(S)
This was a category with a marked difference between the percentages among primary and secondary students. While Christian, Muslim and No affiliation were the three most common responses, regardless of age, the order in which they appear, and the percentage that varies greatly between the two.
For Primary (K-Grade 8):
- Muslim – 27%
- Christian – 24%
- No religious or spiritual affiliation – 22%
For secondary school (grades 9-12):
- Christian – 25%
- No religious or spiritual affiliation – 22%
- Muslim – 17%
There was also a big difference in atheism; while only 3% of primary students chose it (in seventh place), it was the fourth most popular option for secondary students, at 11% of all respondents.
GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION
These two categories only appeared in the census for students in grades 7 and above. Among these respondents, the results in elementary and high school were almost the same:
- 48-49% identify as male
- 47-48% identify as Female
- 5% identify as gender diverse
The HDSB added the note: “Percentage will not add up to 100% as respondents could choose multiple gender identities.”
For sexual orientation, the majority of students in grades 7-8 identified as heterosexual/heterosexual (85%), while 15% identified as one or more of the following:
- Additional sexual orientation(s) not specified
The majority of high school students (grades 9-12) identified as straight/straight (83%) while 17% identified as one or more of the categories listed above.
Finally, the students were asked if they considered themselves to be “a person with one or more disabilities”.
At the elementary level, 6% said yes while 85% said no and 9% said they weren’t sure. At the secondary level, 8% said yes while 84% said no and 8% said they weren’t sure.
MORE INFORMATION TO COME
The latest, Indigenous Identity, did not publish any results in this report, with statistics in this category instead “to be released shortly pending consultation with Indigenous leaders.”
Some categories also say that it takes longer to analyze the data, and other statistics will be shared “in the next report”. No timeline was given for when the next report would be released.
Student Census results are also available in several languages other than English, including French, Arabic, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, and Urdu.
More information about the HSDB Student Census is available online, with the full census results available as a PDF online here.