Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Introduction to the geography universe

Release date: November 17, 2021

The geography universe defines terms related to geographical concepts, infrastructure, products and services. The following summary denotes changes made to the geographic program for the 2021 Census. For further details, refer to the individual definitions of terms.

Geographic areas

Census data are disseminated for a number of standard geographic areas. These areas are either administrative or statistical. Administrative areas are defined, with a few exceptions, by federal, provincial and territorial statutes. Statistical areas are defined by Statistics Canada as part of the spatial frame for disseminating census data. Figure 1.1 shows the hierarchy of all standard geographic areas for dissemination and Table 1.1 shows the distribution of geographic areas by province and territory.

Adjustment of population counts

Statistics Canada is committed to protect the privacy of all Canadians and the confidentiality of the data they provide to us. As part of this commitment, some population counts of geographic areas are adjusted in order to ensure confidentiality.

Counts of the total population are rounded to a base of 5 for any dissemination block having a population of less than 15. Population counts for all standard geographic areas above the dissemination block level are derived by summing the adjusted dissemination block counts. The adjustment of dissemination block counts is controlled to ensure that the population counts for dissemination areas will always be within 5 of the actual values. The adjustment has no impact on the population counts of census divisions and large census subdivisions. Population counts of federal electoral districts will be within 5 of the actual values. Dwelling counts are unadjusted.

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