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Key facts for the National Household Survey

The National Household Survey (NHS) provides social and economic information that communities need to plan services such as child care, schooling, family services, housing, roads and public transportation, and skills training for employment.

The NHS is the largest voluntary survey Statistics Canada has ever conducted. The first data from the NHS will be released May 8, 2013.

Data collection

The NHS was implemented during the 2011 Census cycle.

Canadians were invited to respond to the survey questionnaire in Spring and Summer 2011. In remote areas and on Indian reserves, information was gathered in face-to-face interviews. In other areas of the country, respondents were asked to complete the questionnaire online or on paper first and then follow-up was conducted by enumerators with households who had not yet responded.


The NHS questionnaire contained 64 questions and took between 25 to 35 minutes to complete. The NHS included the following topics:

  • Basic demographics
  • Families and households
  • Activity limitations
  • Ethnic diversity and immigration
  • Language
  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Mobility and migration
  • Education
  • Labour
  • Place of work and commuting to work
  • Income and earnings
  • Housing and shelter costs

Complete list of questions included in the NHS.

Survey sample

A random sample of 4.5 million households was selected.

Participation in the survey was voluntary. Households selected to participate were under no obligation to do so. Conversely, Canadians whose households were not selected in the NHS sample and who wanted to participate in the NHS could not volunteer to complete the questionnaire.

Quality indicators

Response rate

The final response rate for the NHS was 68.6%. This rate is similar to rates on other voluntary surveys conducted by Statistics Canada.

NHS response rates for Canada, provinces and territories

NHS response rates by census subdivision

Data quality

Statistics Canada will make available information for data users at the time of the first release of results:

  • A user guide explains the survey design and its methodology, and how the collection results are applied to the entire population.
  • Data quality indicators are provided for each data product released from the NHS.
  • Reference guides will also be published.

Publishing results

Availability of information

The information collected by the NHS will be published in three stages:

May 8, 2013
Immigration, citizenship, place of birth, language, ethnic origin, visible minorities, religion, Aboriginal peoples

June 26, 2013
Labour, education, place of work, commuting to work, mobility and migration, language of work

September 11, 2013
Income, earnings, housing, shelter costs

Analytical and data products

NHS analytical and data products will be available at 8:30 a.m. on day of release. These include:

  • main analytical documents
  • NHS in Brief with supplementary analysis
  • NHS Data Tables
  • NHS Profile
  • NHS Focus on Geography Series

Access to NHS data

Users can access NHS data and information:

  • on the NHS section of the Statistics Canada website
  • on the Open Data Portal at
  • from Statistics Canada's Statistical Information Service (contact information below)
  • at libraries across Canada

Contact information

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