Closed captions: Tutorial for communities: Finding local census data

It's Tuesday. Down the hall, you and your colleague at the municipality are making plans for a high-traffic road - along with all the infrastructure that goes with it.

Images of an office, office workers, a highway and surveying tools are shown.

Your job is to find out which areas in the municipality are growing the fastest, and which ones have slowed down, so that your busy, noisy road will not be placed too close to areas that will soon be peaceful residential neighborhoods.

Images of an office worker, a high-rise construction site, highways and a residential development are shown.

Meanwhile, your friend Ed, who works for the school board, is figuring out how to best allocate this year's budget to the schools in his district.

Images of an office worker, a piggy bank, a chalk board with text books and several schools are shown.

Face it: planning and making informed decisions for governments and community organizations isn't always easy.

Images of plans, charts and office workgroups are shown.

We're Statistics Canada, and we want to remind you of a rich, reliable and best of all, free source of information.

The Statistics Canada signature with Canadian flag is shown.

Let's take a look. One of the key data sources Statistics Canada generates is the census. It's a gold mine of national and local information on

  • population and dwelling counts
  • age and sex of residents
  • families, households and marital status
  • structural types of dwellings and collectives, and
  • languages.

Images of maps, diverse groups of people, families, and dwellings are shown.

The bottom line is that census data are an essential source of information for developing municipal planning strategies at the local level.

Images of workgroups sitting at tables crowded with planning documents are shown.

Let us show you what we mean. Ready? Go to www.statcan.gc.ca. Select 'English.' Select 'Census of Canada.'

A screenshot of the website is shown, the cursor selects the “English” button and then “Census of Canada.”

You are now on the census home page.

The census home page is shown.

Before you start the search, let's take a quick look at a very useful document - the Census Dictionary, which you can find under 'Reference materials.'

The cursor selects the “reference materials” link in the navigation bar. This leads to the reference materials page.

The census world uses some special terminology, and the dictionary will help you to decode and understand it from A to Z.

The cursor selects “Census Dictionary” from below the heading “Reference products.”

Okay: back to our search.

The census home page is shown.

If you are looking for data on your community, - 'Data products' is a useful place to start.

The cursor selects “Data products” from the navigation menu. The census profile website is shown.

Census Profile is a popular product, which offers a demographic overview of every community across the country. Using the tabs, we're going to search for an area of interest by typing its place name, by browsing a list, or by entering a postal code or a geographic code.

Each option, place name, browse list, enter postal code, or geographic code are highlighted.

For example, let's say you were planning to build your road in Saskatoon.

The “place name” tab is shown. The word “Saskatoon” is entered into the search field.

The search returns a number of results.

The Search Results page is shown. Results are displayed under the headings Census subdivisions, Census metropolitan areas / census agglomerations, Economic regions, Federal electoral districts, and population centres.

Select the desired geography, for example, the city of Saskatoon. There you see hundreds of data rows, which include population growth.

The “Saskatoon (city”) link, under Census subdivisions, is selected. The census profile for Saskatoon is shown, with headings such as “Population and dwelling counts,” “Age characteristics,” “Marital status,” and “Family characteristics.” There are data for each heading.

From here, you can manipulate the data in a number of ways to make it easier for you to use, for example:

  • You can view all data or 'select a view,' which allows you to select from a few popular ways to filter the data. If none of these filters suit your needs, you can select 'build your own,' which allows you to customize the way you filter the data.

A “select a view” drop-down menu is shown, with the options “All data,” “Families and Households,” “Language,” “Population,” and “Build Your Own.”

  • You can change the default comparative geography to one that better suits your needs.

The cursor selects the “change geography” button.

  • You can download the tables.

The cursor selects the “Download” tab, which opens a page with options to download the tables in a CSV (comma-separated values) file or a TAB (tab-separated values) file.

You can further refine your search to an even smaller area!

The postal code search field is shown.

Simply enter a postal code, and you will get the data for the corresponding area. As you can see, there's a lot of valuable information here - and we're just getting started.

The census home page is shown.

If you want to put the numbers in perspective, we recommend the Focus on Geography Series. This is available for any municipality that has a population of 5,000 or more. You can find it under "Data products" or "Analytical products".

A “Focus on Geography Series” link is shown on the census home page. The 2011 Census left navigation menu is then shown, with the headings “Data products” and “Analytical products” underneath.

For example, let's say that Ed works for the school board that serves the Town of Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador.

  • Select 'Focus on Geography Series'.

The cursor selects “Focus on Geography Series” on the census home page

  • Choose 'Canadian municipalities with 5,000-plus population', followed by Newfoundland and Labrador.

The “Focus on Geography Series, 2011 Census” page is shown. The cursor selects “census municipalities (census subdivisions) with 5,000-plus population.” The cursor then selects “Newfoundland and Labrador” from a list of provinces.

  • Then select Gander.

The cursor selects “Gander” from a list of census subdivisions in Newfoundland and Labrador. A page with a map of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador is shown.

Here's a brief analysis of the key census results for Gander. As you can see, where it's possible, Gander's current numbers are compared with those of 2006 or those of other communities.

Tables showing population growth in Gander from 2006 to 2011 and charts showing age distribution in Gander are shown.

Using this analysis, Ed can find out the how the town's population changed from 2006 to 2011, and how many school-aged children there are in Gander, which will help him make his decision. In this tutorial, we have shown you just a few ways that you can use census data to help you make better-informed decisions - but, as you can imagine, we've only scratched the surface. We invite you to discover a wealth of information about our country that can help you in a variety of ways.

The census home page is shown.

We hope you have enjoyed this brief tutorial! If you have any questions, contact us at these coordinates.

The text “Contact us: 1-800-263-1136 STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca” is shown.

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