Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Ethnic or cultural origin

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

Definition

Ethnic or cultural origin refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the person's ancestors. Ancestors may have Indigenous origins, or origins that refer to different countries, or other origins that may not refer to different countries.

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)

Coded variable: Question 23

Responses

Respondents were asked to specify as many origins as applicable in Question 23 on ethnic or cultural origin. Four lines were provided for write-in responses and up to six origins were retained. Refer to Appendix 2.5 for the detailed list of ethnic or cultural origins disseminated for 2021, 2016 and 2011.

Remarks

Additional instructions on how to complete the 2021 ethnic or cultural origins question were provided to respondents via a help button accessed in the electronic questionnaire:

This question refers to the ethnic or cultural origin or origins of a person's ancestors. Other than Indigenous persons, most people can trace their origins to their ancestors who first came to this continent. Ancestry should not be confused with citizenship, nationality or language.

For all persons, report the specific ethnic or cultural origin or origins of their ancestors.

For examples, refer to the list of ethnic or cultural origins. If applicable, you may report an ethnic or cultural origin that is not on the list of examples.

For persons with South Asian origins, report a specific origin or origins. Do not report "Indian." Instead, report "Indian (India)" or a specific South Asian origin, such as "Punjabi" or "Tamil."

For persons with North American Indigenous or Aboriginal ancestry, report a specific origin or origins. Do not report "Aboriginal," "Indigenous," "Native" or "Indian." Instead, report "First Nations," "North American Indian," "Métis," "Inuit," or a specific First Nations origin, such as "Cree" or "Mi'kmaq."

For persons with Indigenous or Aboriginal ancestry from outside North America, report a specific origin or origins. Do not report "Aboriginal," "Indigenous," "Native" or "Indian." Instead, report "Central or South American Indigenous" or a specific Indigenous origin, such as "Arawak" or "Maya."

For additional information on the collection and dissemination of ethnic or cultural origin data, refer to the Ethnic or Cultural Origin Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2021.

Note(s)

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