Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Non-discretionary spending for the MBM

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: July 13, 2022


Non‑discretionary spending for the Market Basket Measure (MBM) consists of the following:

Non‑discretionary spending for the MBM at the economic family level is the sum of non‑discretionary spending for the MBM of all economic family members.

For the 2021 Census, the reference period is the calendar year 2020 for this variable.

Statistical unit(s)


Reported in

2021, 2016 (25% sample), 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample)

Reported for

Economic families and persons not in economic families aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Variable derived based on administrative tax and benefit records received from the Canada Revenue Agency.


Positive dollar value or nil


The conceptual contents of this variable were defined by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) for the purposes of computing the disposable income for the MBM.

Two components were derived from responses to spending questions on the long‑form census questionnaire. See child care expenses paid and child or spousal support payments.

The other items were either based on tax file deductions for respondents who filed a tax return for 2020 or were imputed for remaining respondents.

The MBM methodology undergoes periodic reviews and updates. During the second comprehensive review of the Market Basket Measure (2018‑2020), there was an update in methodology to the derivation of medical expenses. For more information, see 'Defining disposable income in the Market Basket Measure' in the Income Research Paper Series (Catalogue no. 75F0002M).

See also Market Basket Measure (MBM).

For additional information about data collection method, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data, refer to the Income Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.


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