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The 2011 Census was very different than ones that came before and after it. Instead of having two mandatory Census forms (short and long), it had one mandatory short Census form and a voluntary National Household Survey (NHS).

The 2011 Census contained only 10 questions that were answered by ALL Canadian households. When you search the 2011 Census, you will only find statistics on numbers of people and households, age, sex, language (official or not), family status, and dwelling type. You will NOT find information on occupations, income, and all of the other details that were formerly covered by the long-form Census.

In 2011, A sample of households had the option to fill out a supplementary National Household Survey (NHS) that asked an additional 60 questions. You must search for the 2011 NHS data separately from the 2011 Census. Because of the different methods used, you cannot combine 2011 Census data with 2011 NHS data.

For more info, see the 2011 NHS tab on this guide.

Quick Search

2011 Census Profiles

A Census Profile lists responses to Census questions for the level of geography that you choose. This is often the only source of data for very small geographic areas.

  • age, sex, dwellings, families, marital status and languages for specific geographic areas
  • smallest geographic area available: Dissemination Area (definition of DA)

  • compare any two geographic areas side-by-side
  • map an area
  • export tables in several formats: HTML, XML, IVT and CSV/TAB

Highlight tables

2011 Census Highlight Tables

What's in the highlight tables:

- a few key indicators from each Census topic

- tables provide counts, % distribution and sometimes % change figures from 2006 Census

- smallest geographic area: Census Subdivision = municipality level (definition of CSD)

What you can do with the highlight tables:

- select specific geographic area(s) and sort columns

- some tables include a "figure": a ready-made chart or graph

2011 Topic-based Tabulations

2011 Topic-based Tabulations

These tables typically combine at least four variables to provide a much more in-depth portrait of an area than the Profiles. Many of these variables are broken down to a very fine level of detail. Some tables are available at the Census Tract level, but most are not, due to the need for confidentiality.

An Example of a Topic-Based Tabulation:

Presence of Children (5), Number of Children at Home (8) and Census Family Structure (7) for the Census Families in Private Households (Canada, Provinces/Territories, Census Divisions, and Census Subdivisions) 


To make sense of what this table can tell you, it helps to separate out the variables (also called 'dimensions') that it includes:

  1. Presence of children: 5 options
  2. Number of children at home: 8 options
  3. Census family structure: 7 options
  4. Population: Census families in private households
  5. Geography: 4 levels

 Working with Topic-Based Tabulations:

When you view this table on the Statistics Canada website (in HTML), you can only manipulate a few of these variables. You can't see every combination. For maximum flexibility, you must download the statistics into CSV or TAB formats to view in a spreadsheet program like Excel, or into IVT format to analyze in Beyond 20/20 software (free download, Windows version only).

Mapping 2011 Census Data

GeoSearch 2011

Easy-to-search mapping tool for 2011 Census data and geographic boundaries.

  1. open GeoSearch 2011
  2. click on 'Search' tab below the map
  3. enter a specific address, intersection, or postal code
  4. click on 'Boundaries' tab and use drop-down menu to 'Select main boundary to display on map' (e.g. Dissemination Area)
  5. click on specific area on the map to select it, and to display the geographic code number for that area
  6. scroll down to view 2011 Census Profile statistics for the selected area
  7. click on the 'Thematic maps' tab to produce colour-coded map comparing a specific Census item in surrounding areas

Beyond 20/20

The tables on the Statistics Canada website are fairly 'fixed'; you can only customize the tables to a limited extent.

You can export most tables in other formats (for example .csv) for use with spreadsheet software such as Excel.

Many tables are available in Beyond 20/20 (.ivt) format. This software allows you to work with the data to create very customized tables with different cross-tabulations.