Closed captions: Tutorial for businesses: Finding local census data

Facts, figures, data.

Images of spreadsheets, charts and graphs are shown.

These days, it's impossible to make a good business decision unless you've got the numbers working for you- unless you've got concrete, reliable information to guide you.

Images of people working, a city block, and computers are shown.

For instance, you might be in the food services industry, and looking at moving into a specific neighbourhood.

Images of food and a residential area are shown.

How has the population changed? What does your grocery-buying or restaurant-going customer 'look' like?

Images of people, eating and choosing groceries, are shown.

How big are the households, and who lives in them? If you are a retail store, health or financial services firm-even a gas station- you've got to know what you're getting into and with whom you're going to do business.

Images of homes, families, and business establishments are shown.

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

The Statistics Canada signature with Canadian flag is shown.

Let's take a look. One of the key data sources generated by Statistics Canada 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.

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

A screenshot of the website is shown, with “” in the URL field. 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.

You may be unfamiliar with some of the geographical terms we use. Don't worry, the 'Illustrated Glossary' can help! To find it, select 'Geography,' then, under 'Reference documents', select 'Illustrated Glossary'.

The cursor selects “Geography” from the left navigation menu. It then selects “Illustrated Glossary” in the “Reference documents” menu.

Now, let's go back to the census home page and look at some options.

The census home page is shown.

If you are looking for local data, '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 and offers a demographic overview of every community across the country. Let's take a look.

The cursor selects “Census Profile.” The census profile website is shown.

Using the tabs, you can 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.

As an example, let's type in "Saskatoon."

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

The “Saskatoon (city”) link, under Census subdivisions, is selected. The census profile for Saskatoon is shown.

There you see hundreds of rows of data from population counts to details on mother tongues.

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, 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.

Impressed? Well, there's a lot more! You can further refine your search to an even smaller area! Simply enter a postal code, and you will get the data for the corresponding area.

The postal code search field is shown.

Another useful data product is the highlight tables, with which you can perform simple sort and rank functions for multiple communities on a given census topic.

The “Data products” page is shown. The cursor selects “highlight tables.” The “Highlight tables” page is shown.

As an example, for your business plan, you might want to know which city or town in the census metropolitan area of Toronto had the fastest-growing population from 2006 to 2011.

  • Select 'Population and dwelling counts' as the census topic.

The cursor selects the “Population and dwelling counts” link from a list including “Age and sex,” Families and households,” and “Language.”

  • As you want to compare the different cities or towns, choose 'Census subdivisions – Municipalities.'

The “Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2011 Census” page is shown. The cursor selects “census subdivisions – Municipalities.”

  • Because it is the cities and towns within the census metropolitan area of Toronto that you want to compare, choose 'By census metropolitan area or census agglomeration.'

The “Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2011 Census” page is shown with the heading “data tables – Census subdivisions (Municipalities). The cursor selects “By census metropolitan area or census agglomeration” from a list including “All census subdivisions,” “Only census subdivisions with 5,000-plus population,” “By province or territory,” “By census division,” and “By census division with designated places.”

  • From there, find and select 'Toronto' in the alphabetical list.

The cursor selects “Toronto” from an alphabetical list of census metropolitan areas.

You now see a table with the percentage change of the population for all the cities and towns in Toronto. Use the arrows in the appropriate column to sort the data in either ascending or descending order.

The cursor selects a down arrow and then an up arrow under the “Population” column and the “2006” sub-column. The results are sorted in descending and ascending order respectively, based on population in 2006. Other columns include “private dwellings, 2011,” and “Land Area in Square kilometres, 2011.”

You can see that the population of the Town of Milton grew 56.5% from 2006 to 2011,

the highest of all cities and towns in Toronto.

The cursor selects a down arrow under the “Population” column and the “% change” sub-column. The results are sorted in descending order. The cursor highlights the town of Milton, showing its change in population.

In this tutorial, we have shown you just a few ways 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 more information 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, please don't hesitate to contact us at these coordinates.

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