Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Private dwelling

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: April 27, 2022


Private dwelling refers to a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. The entrance to the dwelling must be one that can be used without passing through the living quarters of some other person or group of persons.

The dwelling must meet the two conditions necessary for year‑round occupancy:

  1. a source of heat or power (as evidenced by chimneys, power lines, oil or gas pipes or meters, generators, woodpiles, electric lights, heating pumps, or solar panels)
  2. an enclosed space that provides shelter from the elements, as evidenced by complete and enclosed walls and a roof, and by doors and windows that provide protection from wind, rain and snow.

Dwellings that do not meet the conditions necessary for year‑round occupancy are marginal dwellings. Private dwellings are classified into regular private dwellings and occupied marginal dwellings. Regular private dwellings are further classified into three major groups: occupied dwellings (occupied by usual residents), dwellings occupied solely by foreign residents or by temporarily present persons, and unoccupied dwellings. Marginal dwellings are classified as occupied by usual residents or occupied solely by foreign residents or by temporarily present persons. Marginal dwellings that were unoccupied on May 11, 2021, are not counted in the housing stock.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021, 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981,Footnote 1 1976, 1971,Footnote 2 1966Footnote 2 and 1961Footnote 2

Reported for

Not applicable

Question number(s)

Not applicable


Not applicable


For more information on the dwelling population of interest, refer to the Type of Dwelling Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021, Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 98‑500‑X.


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