Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Place of birth of parent

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

Definition

Place of birth of parent refers to the name of the geographic location where the father, mother or parent of the person was born. The geographic location is specified according to geographic boundaries current at the time of data collection, not the geographic boundaries at the time of birth.

In the 2021 Census of Population, the geographic location refers to the name of the country or area of interest in which the father, mother or parent of the person was born.

Statistical unit(s)

Classification(s)

Reported in

2021 and 2016 (25% sample); 2011Footnote 1 (30% sample); 2006 and 2001 (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 20

Responses

Response categories included a mark‑in circle for "All parents born in Canada," "All parents born outside Canada" and "One parent born in Canada AND one parent born outside Canada."

Write‑in spaces were provided to specify the country or countries of birth outside Canada, if applicable, according to present boundaries on May 11, 2021.

Refer to Appendix 2.6 for the places of birth disseminated for the 2021 Census of Population.

Remarks

The question on the place of birth of parents is used to assess the social and economic conditions of second-generation Canadians and helps us understand Canada's immigration history.

In the 2021 Census of Population, the question about the place of birth of parents asked "Where were this person's parents born?"

Respondents were asked to indicate the place of birth of their parents according to the boundaries in existence on May 11, 2021, the reference date for the 2021 Census of Population.

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

"Parent" refers to the legal father, mother or parent of the person.

Persons may report more than one country of birth outside Canada in the write‑in space, if applicable.

For parents who were born outside Canada, please report the country of birth according to present boundaries. For example, parents born in the former U.S.S.R should report the specific country or republic that is now a nation‑state–Ukraine, Latvia, Russian Federation, etc.

For persons who are not sure of the name of the country because its boundaries have changed since the time of their parents' birth, please report the name of the nearest city, state or province.

For adopted persons, please report the place of birth of their adoptive parents.

For persons with at least one legal parent born in Canada and one legal parent born outside Canada, please select the option "One parent born in Canada AND one parent born outside Canada" and report the country of birth outside Canada according to present boundaries. Persons may report more than one country in the write‑in space, if applicable.

The responses to the questions on place of birth of person and place of birth of parents are used to derive the generation status variable.

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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