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Adjusted counts

Adjusted counts refer to previous census population and dwelling counts that have been adjusted (i.e., recompiled) to reflect current census boundaries (such as when a boundary change occurs between two censuses).


A block is an area bounded on all sides by roads and/or boundaries of standard geographic areas. Blocks cover all the territory of Canada. The block is the smallest geographic area for which population and dwelling counts are disseminated.


A block-face is one side of a street between two consecutive features intersecting that street. The features can be other streets, boundaries of standard geographic areas, or limits of map tiles. Block-faces are used for generating block-face representative points, which in turn are used for geocoding and census data extraction when the street and address information is available.

Cartographic boundary files

Cartographic Boundary Files (CBF) contain boundaries of standard geographic areas, along with shorelines and lakes, at a level of detail appropriate for small-scale mapping.

Census agricultural region

Census agricultural regions (CAR) are composed of groups of adjacent census divisions. In Saskatchewan, census agricultural regions are made up of groups of adjacent census consolidated subdivisions, but these groups do not necessarily respect census division boundaries.

Census consolidated subdivision

A census consolidated subdivision (CCS) is a grouping of adjacent census subdivisions. Generally, the smaller, more urban census subdivisions (towns, villages, etc.) are combined with the surrounding larger, more rural census subdivision, in order to create a geographic level between the census subdivision and the census division.

Census division

Census division (CD) is the general term for provincially legislated areas (such as county, municipalité régionale de comté and regional district) or their equivalents. Census divisions are intermediate geographic areas between the province level and the municipality (census subdivision).

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a large urban area (known as the urban core). The census population count of the urban core must be at least 10,000 to form a census agglomeration and at least 100,000 to form a census metropolitan area. To be included in the CMA or CA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census place of work data.

If the population of the urban core of a CA declines below 10,000, the CA is retired. However, once an area becomes a CMA, it is retained as a CMA even if the population of its urban core population declines below 100,000. The urban areas that are located in the CMA or CA but are not contiguous to the urban core are called the urban fringe. Rural areas in the CMA or CA are called the rural fringe.

When a CA has an urban core of at least 50,000 based on census counts, it is subdivided into census tracts. Census tracts are maintained for the CA even if the population of the urban core subsequently falls below 50,000. All CMAs are subdivided into census tracts.

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone

The census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone (MIZ) is a concept that geographically differentiates the area of Canada outside census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs). Census subdivisions outside CMAs and CAs are assigned to one of four categories according to the degree of influence (strong, moderate, weak or no influence) that the CMAs and/or CAs have on them.

Census subdivisions (CSDs) are assigned to a MIZ category based on the percentage of their resident employed labour force that has a place of work in the urban core(s) of CMAs or CAs. CSDs with the same degree of influence tend to be clustered. The zones they form around CMAs and CAs progress through the categories from "strong" to "no" influence as distance from the CMAs and CAs increases.

Census subdivision

Census subdivision (CSD) is the general term for municipalities (as determined by provincial legislation) or areas deemed to be their equivalents (for example, Indian reserves, Indian settlements and unorganized territories) used for statistical reporting purposes.

Census tract

Census tracts (CTs) are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population of 2,500 to 8,000. They are located in census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and in census agglomerations (CAs) with an urban core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census. A committee of local specialists (for example, planners, educators and health and social workers) initially delineates CTs in conjunction with Statistics Canada. Once a CMA or CA has been subdivided into census tracts, the census tracts are maintained even if the urban core population subsequently declines below 50,000.

Coordinate system

A coordinate system is a reference system based on mathematical rules for specifying positions (locations) on the surface of the earth. The coordinate values can be spherical (latitude and longitude) or planar (such as the Universal Transverse Mercator).

The Cartographic Boundary Files, the Road Network Files and the representative points are disseminated in latitude/longitude coordinates.


A datum is a geodetic reference system that specifies the size and shape of the earth, and the base point from which the latitude and longitude of all other points on the earth's surface are referenced.

The spatial data disseminated for the 2006 Census are based on the North American Datum of 1983 (NAD83).

Designated place

A designated place (DPL) is normally a small community or settlement that does not meet the criteria established by Statistics Canada to be a census subdivision (an area with municipal status) or an urban area.

Designated places are created by provinces and territories, in co-operation with Statistics Canada, to provide data for submunicipal areas.

Dissemination area

The dissemination area (DA) is a small, relatively stable geographic unit composed of one or more blocks. It is the smallest standard geographic area for which all census data are disseminated. DAs cover all the territory of Canada.

Economic region

An economic region (ER) is a grouping of complete census divisions (with one exception in Ontario) created as a standard geographic unit for analysis of regional economic activity.


Ecumene is a term used by geographers to mean inhabited land. It generally refers to land where people have made their permanent home, and to all work areas that are considered occupied and used for agricultural or any other economic purposes. Thus, there can be various types of ecumenes, each having its own unique characteristics (population ecumene, agricultural ecumene, industrial ecumene, etc.).

Enumeration area

An enumeration area (EA) is the geographic area canvassed by one census representative. An EA is composed of one or more adjacent blocks. EAs cover all the territory of Canada.

Enumeration areas are only used for census data collection. The dissemination area (DA) replaces the EA as a basic unit for dissemination.

Federal electoral district

A federal electoral district (FED) is an area represented by a member of the House of Commons. The federal electoral district boundaries used for the 2006 Census are based on the 2003 Representation Order.


Geocoding is the process of assigning geographic identifiers (codes) to map features and data records. The resulting geocodes permit data to be linked geographically.

Households and postal codes are linked to block-face representative points when the street and address information is available; otherwise, they are linked to block representative points.

Geographic code

A geographic code is a unique number used to identify and access standard geographic areas for the purposes of data storage, retrieval and display.

Geographic reference date

The geographic reference date is a date determined by Statistics Canada for the purpose of finalizing the geographic framework for which census data will be collected, tabulated and reported. For the 2006 Census, the geographic reference date is January 1, 2006.

Land area

Land area is the area in square kilometres of the land-based portions of standard geographic areas. The land area measurements are unofficial and are provided for the sole purpose of calculating population density.


Locality (LOC) refers to the historical place names of former census subdivisions (municipalities), former designated places and former urban areas, as well as to the names of other entities, such as neighbourhoods, post offices, communities and unincorporated places.

Map projection

A map projection is the process of transforming and representing positions from the earth's three dimensional curved surface to a two-dimensional (flat) surface. The process is accomplished by a direct geometric projection or by a mathematically derived transformation.

The Lambert Conformal Conic map projection is widely used for general maps of Canada at small scales and is the most common map projection used at Statistics Canada.

National Geographic Base

The National Geographic Base (NGB) is a new database that contains roads and boundaries of standard geographic areas in one integrated layer with other physical and cultural features (such as hydrography, railroads and power transmission lines) stored as separate layers.

The NGB is an internal maintenance database that is not disseminated. It supports a wide range of census operations, such as geocoding, updating the road network and address ranges, supporting the block program and delineating the boundaries of standard geographic areas (including the automated delineation of enumeration areas, urban areas and dissemination areas). As well, the NGB is the source for generating many geography products for the 2006 Census, such as reference maps and Cartographic Boundary Files.

Place name

Place name (PN) refers to the set of names that includes current census subdivisions (municipalities), current designated places and current urban areas, as well as the names of localities.

Population density

Population density is the number of persons per square kilometre.

Postal code

The postal code is a six-character code defined and maintained by Canada Post Corporation for the purpose of sorting and delivering mail.

Province or Territory

Province and territory refer to the major political units of Canada. From a statistical point of view, province and territory are basic areas for which data are tabulated. Canada is divided into ten provinces and three territories.

Reference map

A reference map shows the location of the geographic areas for which census data are tabulated and disseminated. The maps display the boundaries, names and codes of standard geographic areas, as well as major cultural and physical features, such as roads, railroads, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

Representative point

A representative point is a single point that represents a linear or areal feature. The point is centrally located along the linear feature or centrally within the areal feature.

Representative points are generated for block-faces, blocks, enumeration areas, dissemination areas, census subdivisions and designated places. The block-face and block representative points support the geocoding of households and postal codes.

Road network files

The Road Network Files (RNFs) provide national coverage of roads, province/territory boundaries and other visible features such as hydrography, as well as attribute information (for example, street names and address ranges for streets with assigned addresses). The RNFs replace the Street Network Files (SNFs), which were a similar product previously available only for the large urban centres of Canada.

Rural area

Rural areas include all territory lying outside urban areas. Taken together, urban and rural areas cover all of Canada.

Rural population includes all population living in the rural fringes of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs), as well as population living in rural areas outside CMAs and CAs.

Spatial data quality elements

Spatial data quality elements provide information on the fitness-for-use of a spatial database by describing why, when and how the data are created, and how accurate the data are. The elements include an overview describing the purpose and usage, as well as specific quality elements reporting on the lineage, positional accuracy, attribute accuracy, logical consistency and completeness. This information is provided to users for all spatial data products disseminated for the census.

Standard geographical classification 

The Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) is Statistics Canada's official classification for three types of geographic areas: provinces and territories, census divisions (CDs) and census subdivisions (CSDs). The SGC provides unique numeric identification (codes) for these hierarchically related geographic areas.

Statistical area classification

The Statistical Area Classification (SAC) groups census subdivisions according to whether they are a component of a census metropolitan area, a census agglomeration, a census metropolitan area and census agglomeration influenced zone (strong MIZ, moderate MIZ, weak MIZ or no MIZ), or the territories (Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory and Nunavut). The SAC is used for data dissemination purposes.

Thematic map

A thematic map shows the spatial distribution of one or more specific data themes for standard geographic areas. The map may be qualitative in nature (e.g., predominant farm types) or quantitative (e.g., percentage population change).

Urban area

An urban area (UA) has a minimum population concentration of 1,000 persons and a population density of at least 400 persons per square kilometre, based on the current census population count. All territory outside urban areas is classified as rural. Taken together, urban and rural areas cover all of Canada.

Urban population includes all population living in the urban cores, secondary urban cores and urban fringes of census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs), as well as the population living in urban areas outside CMAs and CAs.

Urban core, urban fringe and rural fringe

Urban core, urban fringe and rural fringe distinguish between central and peripheral urban and rural areas within a census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA).

Urban core is a large urban area around which a CMA or a CA is delineated. The urban core must have a population (based on the previous census) of at least 100,000 persons in the case of a CMA, or between 10,000 and 99,999 persons in the case of a CA.

Urban fringe includes all small urban areas (with less than 10,000 population) that are located within a CMA or CA but are not contiguous with the urban core of the CMA or CA.

Rural fringe comprises all territory that is located within a CMA or CA but is not classified as an urban core or an urban fringe.

Urban population size group

Urban population size group refers to the classification used in standard tabulations where urban areas are distributed according to the following predetermined size groups, based on the current census population.

1,000 to 2,499
2,500 to 4,999
5,000 to 9,999
10,000 to 24,999
25,000 to 49,999
50,000 to 99,999
100,000 to 249,999
250,000 to 499,999
500,000 to 999,999
1,000,000 and over

Tabulations are not limited to these predetermined population size groups; the census database has the capability of tabulating data according to any user-defined population size group.