Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Citizenship

Release date: November 17, 2021Updated on: October 26, 2022

Definition

Citizenship refers to the country where the person has citizenship. A person may have more than one citizenship. A person may be stateless, that is, they may have no citizenship. Citizenship can be by birth or naturalization.

Statistical unit(s)

Classification(s)

Reported in

2021 and 2016 (25% sample); 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample). For availability prior to 1981, please refer to Appendix 2.1.

Reported for

Population in private households.

Question number(s)

Direct variable: Question 21

Responses

The 2021 Census of Population citizenship question was asked in two parts.

Part A included mark‑in circles for "Yes, a Canadian citizen by birth," "Yes, a Canadian citizen by naturalization" and "No, not a Canadian citizen."

Part B included mark‑in circles for "No" and "Yes." If a person selected "Yes," a write‑in space was provided to specify their country or countries of citizenship other than Canada.

Refer to Appendix 2.7 for the list of countries of citizenship disseminated for the 2021 Census of Population.

Remarks

The citizenship question provides information on the legal citizenship status of Canada's population. This information is used to estimate the number of potential voters and to plan citizenship classes and programs. It also provides information about the population with multiple citizenships.

The 2021 Census of Population citizenship question was asked in two parts.

Part A asked "Is this person a Canadian citizen?"

A note accompanying the citizenship question on both the paper and electronic questionnaire stated that "Canadian citizen by naturalization" refers to an immigrant who was granted citizenship of Canada under the Citizenship Act.

The following additional instructions on how to complete Part A of the 2021 citizenship question were provided to respondents via a help button accessible in the electronic questionnaire.

For persons born in Canada:

Exception—If at least one of their parents was a government representative of another country (for example, in diplomatic service) AND none of their parents were Canadian citizens or landed immigrants (permanent residents), at the time of their birth.

For persons born outside Canada, if, at the time of their birth, at least one parent was a Canadian citizen:

For persons who have ever been a landed immigrant (permanent resident) and have been granted Canadian citizenship:

For persons who were born outside Canada and are not Canadian citizens:

Part B asked "Is this person a citizen of a country other than Canada?"

A note accompanying the citizenship question on both the paper and electronic questionnaires asked respondents to indicate more than one country of citizenship, if applicable.

The following additional instructions on how to complete Part B of the 2021 citizenship question were provided to respondents via a help button accessible in the electronic questionnaire.

For persons who do not hold citizenship of a country outside Canada:

For persons who hold citizenship of a country or countries outside Canada:

To better understand the relationship between the concepts of immigration, place of birth and generation status, please refer to Figure 2.5.

To better understand the relationship between the concepts of immigration and citizenship, please refer to Figure 2.6.

For more information on immigration variables, including information on data quality and their comparability with other sources of data, please refer to the Place of Birth, Generation Status, Citizenship and Immigration Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.

Note(s)

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