1911, 1921 Census  


The Microdata

The CCRI is centered upon the manuscript census enumerations for 1911, 1921, 1931, 1941, and 1951. The data from these enumerations will enable research on the individuals, families, households, and communities that experienced the complex transformation of Canada.

Broadly speaking, data are the raw material on which the statistics of the census are calculated. For example, we might want to know how many months a child spent in school in 1910 (1911 census schedule 1, question 33). Census enumerators recorded the answer (data) to that question in a tabulated enumeration form. We can use the entire collection of data in any census year to learn about the infinite complexities of Canadian society at the time.

One of the major driving forces behind the infrastructure is the advanced software tools made available through modern technology. Through this technology, the CCRI has transformed the census enumerations from their aggregated tabular forms into microdata, which uses the power of advanced technology to probe census data in ways that the manual manipulation of columns and numbers simply cannot. Researchers can use this microdata to create tabulations and cross-tabulated data sets tailored to specific and multiple questions of their own in understanding the universes they wish to study.

The value of microdata for research is substantial. The census offers some of the most comprehensive evidence concerning the Canadian population as a whole. In theory the modern census covers the entire country, and in practice it reports on more residents in Canada than any other source. Moreover, the Canadian census not only includes almost all the key variables that can be found in the censuses of most other countries, but also some less frequently asked questions such as those concerning religion, language, and rural/urban distinctions. These features explain why Statistics Canada has, due to demand, created microdata sets for research purposes of the 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001 enumerations. The CCRI adds to those microdata, as well as to others that cover the periods from 1852 to 1901.

Census data were collected through survey questions answered by every individual in the population in each of 1911, 1921, 1931, 1941, and 1951. The CCRI microdata represents a sample of each of those populations. The CCRI has developed a wide range of methods of minimizing and adjusting for inconsistencies in that sample.

Year Total National Population
(according to published census volumes)
CCRI Sample %
1911 7 206 648 371 557 5
1921 8 788 483 367 475 4
1931 10 376 786 348 519 3
1941 11 506 655 363 935 3
1951 14 009 429 443 921 3