2016 Canadian Census

The 2016 Canadian Census is the most recent detailed enumeration of the Canadian residents, which counted a population of 35,151,728, a 5% change from its 2011 population of 33,476,688. The census, conducted by Statistics Canada, was Canada's seventh quinquennial census.[N 1] The official census day was May 10, 2016. Census web access codes began arriving in the mail on May 2, 2016.[2] The 2016 census marked the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census, which had been dropped in favour of the voluntary National Household Survey for the 2011 census.[3] With a response rate of 98.4%, this census is said to be the best one ever recorded since the 1666 census of New France.[4][5] Canada's next census is scheduled for 2021.

27th Census of Canada

Statistics Canada's visual identifier for
its 2016 Census of Population
General information
Date takenMay 10, 2016 (2016-05-10) (official census day)
Total population35,151,728
Percent change 5.0%
Annual percent change 0.98%
Most populous province or territoryOntario (13,448,494)
Least populous province or territoryYukon (35,874)


Consultation with census data users, clients, stakeholders and other interested parties closed in November 2012. Qualitative content testing, which involved soliciting feedback regarding the questionnaire and tests responses to its questions, was scheduled for the fall of 2013, with more extensive testing occurring in May 2014. Statistics Canada was scheduled to submit its census content recommendations for review by the Parliament of Canada in December 2014 for subsequent final approval by the Cabinet of Canada.[6]

On November 5, 2015, during the first Liberal caucus meeting after forming a majority government, the party announced that it would reinstate the mandatory[7] long-form census,[8] starting in 2016. By early January 2016, Statistics Canada had announced a need for 35,000 people to complete this survey to commence in May.[9]

Data release schedule


Portions of Canada's three territories and remote areas within Alberta, Labrador, Manitoba, Quebec and Saskatchewan were subject to early enumeration between February 1, 2016, and March 31, 2016.[11] Enumeration of the balance of Canada began on May 2, 2016, with the unveiling of the online census questionnaire,[12] eight days prior to the official census day of May 10, 2016.[13] Because of a wildfire in early May in northeast Alberta, Statistics Canada suspended enumeration efforts in the Fort McMurray area with alternate means to collect data from its evacuated residents to be determined at a later date.[14] Shortly after re-entry, residents were encouraged to complete their census form online or over the phone; however door-to-door enumeration remained suspended.[15]

Public response

Non-binary activists expressed concern that the choice between "male" and "female" on the "sex" question left them with no valid options.[16] In response, Statistics Canada stated that "Respondents who cannot select one category ... can leave the question blank and indicate, in the Comments section at the end of the questionnaire, the reason(s) for which they've chosen to leave this question unanswered."[17] Statistics Canada stated that they intend to analyze these comments but that because of the technical difficulties of analyzing free-form text, this analysis will not be released on the same schedule as the binary gender data.[17]


In the 2016 Census of Population, Canada recorded a population of 35,151,728 living in 14,072,079 of its 15,412,443 total private dwellings, a 5% change from its 2011 population of 33,476,688. With a land area of 8,965,588.85 km2 (3,461,633.21 sq mi), it had a population density of 3.9/km2 (10.2/sq mi) in 2016.[18] Canada's most and least populous provinces were Ontario at 13,448,494 and Prince Edward Island at 142,907 respectively. Among the three territories, the Northwest Territories was the largest with a population of 41,786 while Yukon was the smallest with a population of 35,874[19] after Nunavut's population overtook Yukon for the first time in its history.[20]

The majority of Canada's population in 2016 were females at 50.9%, while 49.1% were males. The average age of the population was 41.0 years (40.1 years for males and 41.9 years for females).[18]

In terms of occupied private dwellings, 53.6% of them were single detached dwellings, followed by 18% being units in apartment buildings less than five storeys, and 9.9% being apartment units in buildings with five or more storeys. The average household size was 2.4 people per household. Two-person households were the most frequent size among private households at 34.4%.[18]

In regards to the journey to work data in Ottawa, there was an increase of people driving their car to work of 51.3% which has the highest mode of transportation. On the other hand, public transit decreased to 25.1% comparing to the 2011 census. The census data in 2016 shows that people have been using other modes of transportation more than other years, this includes walking and cycling.

Population and dwellings

Province or territory Population, 2016 Census[21] Population

Change (%), 2011–2016

Number Percentage
 Ontario 13,448,494 38.26% 4.64%
 Quebec 8,164,361 23.23% 3.30%
 British Columbia 4,648,055 13.22% 5.63%
 Alberta 4,067,175 11.57% 11.57%
 Manitoba 1,278,365 3.64% 5.80%
 Saskatchewan 1,098,352 3.12% 6.29%
 Nova Scotia 923,598 2.63% 0.20%
 New Brunswick 747,101 2.13% −0.54%
 Newfoundland and Labrador 519,716 1.48% 1.01%
 Prince Edward Island 142,907 0.41% 1.93%
 Northwest Territories 41,786 0.12% 0.78%
 Nunavut 35,944 0.10% 12.66%
 Yukon 35,874 0.10% 5.83%
 Canada 35,151,728 100% 5.00%

Ethnic origins

Canada 2016 Census[22]Population% of Total Population
European origins25,111,69572.9%
Visible minority group South Asian1,924,6355.6%
Latin American447,3251.3%
Southeast Asian313,2600.9%
West Asian264,3050.8%
Visible minority, n.i.e.132,0900.4%
Multiple visible minorities232,3750.7%
Total visible minority population7,674,58022.3%
Not a visible minority26,785,48077.7%
Aboriginal group[22]First Nations977,2302.8%
Inuit65,025 0.2%
Total Aboriginal population1,673,7854.9%
Total population34,460,065100%

See also


  1. Canada's first quinquennial census was conducted in 1956.[1]


  1. "Overview of the Census: Census year 2011" (PDF). Statistics Canada. April 2012. p. 4. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  2. "Statistics Canada on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved May 2, 2016.
  3. "Liberal gov't restores mandatory long-form census". CTV News. November 5, 2015. Retrieved November 5, 2015.
  4. "Canadians' overwhelming response enables 'best ever' Census in 2016". Statistics Canada. August 29, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2017.
  5. "'Best census ever' in 2016, StatsCan says". Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  6. "2016 Census Program Content Consultation Guide: Census year 2016" (PDF). Statistics Canada. p. 10. Retrieved June 1, 2013.
  7. Berthiaume, Lee. "The long-form census is back – with penalties still possible if you ignore it". Ottawa Citizen.
  8. "Liberals can restore long-form census for 2016, if they act quickly, observers say". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. October 28, 2015.
  9. Tencer, Daniel (January 5, 2016). "Statistics Canada Hiring 35,000 For 2016 Census That Will Replace Harper's Voluntary Survey". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 6, 2016.
  10. "2016 Census Program release schedule". Statistics Canada. February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  11. "Early enumeration jobs". Statistics Canada. April 29, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  12. "The 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. April 29, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  13. "2016 Census questions". Statistics Canada. April 10, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  14. "Statistics Canada suspends Census collection in Fort McMurray area". Statistics Canada. May 5, 2016. Retrieved May 6, 2016.
  15. "Update on Census collection in the Fort McMurray area". Statistics Canada. June 17, 2016. Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  16. "Neither male nor female, transgender student calls for 3rd option on census form". www.cbc.ca. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  17. Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Who is included in the census?". www.census.gc.ca. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  18. "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Canada". Statistics Canada. August 25, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  19. "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data". Statistics Canada. August 28, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2017.
  20. "Population size and growth in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. March 30, 2017. Retrieved October 15, 2017. For the first time since Nunavut was founded in 1999, its population surpassed that of Yukon.
  21. Statistics Canada (2016). "Population data 2016 Census". Retrieved November 4, 2019.
  22. "Census Profile, 2016 Census". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2019.
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