Your community in stats

April 20, 2016

Ever wonder about your community's profile or how it differs from other Canadian communities? Need to move, and want to know what your new community looks like? Want information on the local job prospects, health status, demographic trends, aging, or level of satisfaction with life?

Statistics Canada can provide the data on all these topics, telling you a lot about your community.

Population data

Thinking of starting a local business? The Census of Population data provide a profile of communities by age, sex, marital status, family characteristics, household characteristics, as well as language, citizenship, immigration status, ethnicity, education and income. You can find data for census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, census divisions, census subdivisions (or municipalities) and federal electoral districts.

For recent population counts and demographic trends, check out the Demographic Population Estimates available at the provincial/territorial level or at the intraprovincial level. From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, the fastest-growing census division was Mirabel, in Quebec, with a population growth rate of 41.3 per 1,000 people. The largest population decrease was Guysborough, Nova Scotia, with a rate of -32.8 per 1,000 people.

On July 1, 2015, Ontario's Haliburton census division had the highest median age, at 55.8 years, and the highest proportion of persons aged 65 years and older, at 31.3%. Nunavut's Keewatin census division had the highest proportion of people aged under 15 (34.3%) and the lowest median age (23.7 years).

Job prospects

Wondering about the local job scene? Statistics Canada's newest labour market indicator is the Job Vacancy and Wage Survey, with data for the 76 economic regions in Canada. The survey provides the number of job vacancies, by industry and occupation, in an economic region on a quarterly basis. Additional information is also provided by occupation, including the distribution of vacancies by level of education and experience, the proportion of vacancies per occupation that are difficult to fill, and the average pay or hourly wage offered.

In the third quarter of 2015, the highest job vacancy rate in Canada was in the economic region of Banff-Jasper-Rocky Mountain House, Alberta (5.1%). The lowest vacancy rates were Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec and Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec (both at 1.1%). On average, the highest paying job vacancies were located in Nunavut ($29.35/hour), while the lowest paying were in Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia ($13.20/hour). The average wage offered for job vacancies across Canada was $18.45 in the third quarter.

Commuting time

Want to know how much time Canadians spend on their way to and from work? Using Census data, the latest Human Activity and the Environment reports that, in 2011, commuters with the longest average travel times in Canada—around 30 minutes—lived in Oshawa, Toronto and Montréal. Commuters with travel times of more than 45 minutes were most likely to live in Oshawa.

How about urban sprawl? In 2011, the built-up areas of Canadian census metropolitan areas added up to 14,546 square kilometres (km2), up 157% from 5,651 km2 in 1971. Toronto (+1,189 km2), Montréal (+816 km2) and Edmonton (+752 km2) had the largest increases in built-up areas.

Health and well-being

So where are the Canadians the most satisfied with their lives? You will find the answers in the Statistics Canada study, How's Life in the City? Life Satisfaction Across Census Metropolitan Areas and Economic Regions in Canada.

It seems residents of Saguenay, St. John's and Trois-Rivières are the most satisfied with their life as a whole, while those in Vancouver, Toronto and Windsor are the least satisfied.

The study combines data from two surveys, the General Social Survey from 2009 to 2013 and the Canadian Community Health Survey from 2009 to 2012, to examine the life satisfaction of nearly 340,000 Canadians, making it possible to reliably compare results across census metropolitan areas. As well, the study covers the population living outside the census metropolitan areas, distributed across 58 economic regions across the country.

Electoral profiles

Thinking of standing for political office? Statistics Canada also provides Federal Electoral District Boundary Files.

After each 10-year census, the number of seats in the House of Commons are recalculated, and the boundaries of federal electoral districts are reviewed to reflect changes and movements in Canada's population.

Following the 2011 Census of Population, the number of parliamentary seats increased from 308 to 338.

You may have asked yourself if there is a connection between the postal codes and federal ridings. There is. And again, it's Statistics Canada that provides the key. It is called the Postal Codes by Federal Ridings File, and it provides the link between the six-character postal code and Canada's federal electoral districts.

Future stats

Statistics Canada's role in producing local statistics was augmented this year with the announcement that Statistics Canada is developing a strategy to improve its housing data, including the purchase of Canadian homes by foreign buyers. Comprehensive, reliable housing market data are essential for consumers to make informed conclusions and support decision making on housing policies.

May 2 is the start of collection of 2016 Census of Population. The Census program provides a comprehensive view of the Canadian population. With the reinstatement of the mandatory long-form census, we will be able to provide more data for smaller communities. The long-form census also records a wide variety of characteristics of the population, including Aboriginal identity, visible minority group, education level, income and housing. This data creates a rich national portrait that is crucial to effective decision making each day at all levels of government and by individual Canadians.

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