Product Profile 2.3: Working with the NHS (and Census) - Part 1

In Part 1 of this Product Profile, we explain some basic information about the 2011 NHS, (and 2011 Census while we're at it). First we provide descriptions of the standard geographies you're most likely to encounter with Census and NHS data. We then explain the types of tables that are either currently available or will be available to members of the Community Data Program—profiles, target group profiles, topic-based tabulations, and the Urban Poverty Project. Finally, we talk about why data might be unavailable or suppressed.

Contents

  1. Census geographies
  2. Types and availability of Census and NHS data tables
  3. Reasons why NHS data might be unavailable or suppressed

Census geographies

This section explains the standard census geographies at which Census and NHS products are available. These include:

  1. Census division (CD)
  2. Census subdivision (CSD)
  3. Dissemination area (DA)
  4. Census metropolitan area (CMA)
  5. Census agglomeration (CA)
  6. Census tract (CT)

There are other standard geographies, but these are the sub-provincial ones we most frequently come across on the Statistics Canada website.

Census division (CD)

A.k.a. regional municipality

Reference map

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/pdf/2011-12572-01-A.pdf

Shapefile

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/files-fichiers/gcd_000b11a_e.zip

Official definition

Group of neighbouring municipalities joined together for the purposes of regional planning and managing common services (such as police or ambulance services). These groupings are established under laws in effect in certain provinces of Canada. For example, a census division might correspond to a county, une municipalité régionale de comté or a regional district. In other provinces and the territories where laws do not provide for such areas, Statistics Canada defines equivalent areas for statistical reporting purposes in cooperation with these provinces and territories.

Census division (CD) is the general term for provincially legislated areas (such as county, municipalité régionale de comté and regional district) or their equivalents. Census divisions are intermediate geographic areas between the province/territory level and the municipality (census subdivision).

Census division code

The census division (CD) code is a two-digit code that is based on the Standard Geographical Classification (SGC). In order to uniquely identify each CD in Canada, the two-digit province/territory (PR) code must precede the two-digit CD code. For example:

PR-CD code

CD name

13 01

Saint John (N.B.)

24 01

Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Que.)

For further information

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo008-eng.cfm

Census subdivision (CSD)

A.k.a. local municipality

Reference maps

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/ref/sgc...

Shapefile

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/files-fichiers/gcsd000b11a_e.zip

Official definition

Area that is a municipality or an area that is deemed to be equivalent to a municipality for statistical reporting purposes (e.g., as an Indian reserve or an unorganized territory). Municipal status is defined by laws in effect in each province and territory in Canada.

Census subdivision (CSD) is the general term for municipalities (as determined by provincial/territorial legislation) or areas treated as municipal equivalents for statistical purposes (e.g., Indian reserves, Indian settlements and unorganized territories).

Census subdivision code

The census subdivision (CSD) code is a three-digit code that is based on the Standard Geographical Classification (SGC). In order to uniquely identify each CSD in Canada, the two-digit province/territory (PR) code and the two-digit census division (CD) code must precede the CSD code. For example:

PR-CD-CSD code

CSD name and type

12 06 008

Mahone Bay, T (N.S.)

35 06 008

Ottawa, CV (Ont.)

Types of CSDs by province

There are 54 types of census subdivisions. Examples of types include Town, City, Village, etc. Here's a table of all 54 types of census subidivision.

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/table-tableau/table-tableau-5-eng.cfm

For further information

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo012-eng.cfm

Dissemination area (DA)

A.k.a. A few city blocks or small rural community

Reference maps by CMA and tracted CA

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/ref/CT-SR-eng.cfm

Reference maps by non-tracted CA

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/ref/nt_ca-ar_nd/index-eng.cfm

Reference maps by CSDs outside CMAs and CAs

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/ref/CSD-SDR-eng.cfm

Shapefile

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/files...

Official definition

Small area composed of one or more neighbouring dissemination blocks, with a population of 400 to 700 persons. All of Canada is divided into dissemination areas.

A dissemination area (DA) is a small, relatively stable geographic unit composed of one or more adjacent dissemination blocks. It is the smallest standard geographic area for which all census data are disseminated. DAs cover all the territory of Canada.

Dissemination area rules
  1. Dissemination area (DA) boundaries respect the boundaries of census subdivisions and census tracts. DAs therefore remain stable over time, to the extent that census subdivisions and census tracts do.
  2. Dissemination area boundaries follow roads. DA boundaries may follow other features (such as railways, water features, power transmission lines), where these features form part of the boundaries of census subdivisions or census tracts.
  3. Dissemination areas are uniform in terms of population size, which is targeted from 400 to 700 persons to avoid data suppression. DAs with lower population counts (including zero population) may result in order to respect the boundaries of census subdivisions and census tracts. DAs with higher population counts may also result.
  4. Dissemination areas are delineated based on the block population counts from the previous census due to operational constraints.
  5. Dissemination areas are compact in shape, to the extent possible while respecting the above criteria.
  6. The number of dissemination blocks that are included in a dissemination area is limited to 99 due to operational constraints.

Dissemination area code

Each dissemination area (DA) is assigned a four-digit code. In order to uniquely identify each DA in Canada, the two-digit province/territory (PR) code and the two-digit census division (CD) code must precede the DA code. For example:

PR-CD-DA code

Description

12 09 0103

Province 12: Nova Scotia

CD 09: Halifax

DA 0103

59 09 0103

Province 59: British Columbia
CD 09: Fraser Valley
DA 0103

For further information

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo021-eng.cfm

Census metropolitan area (CMA) and census agglomeration (CA)

A.k.a. greater urban area

Reference map

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/pdf/201...

Shapefile

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/files...

Official definition

Area consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a core. A census metropolitan area must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the core. A census agglomeration must have a core population of at least 10,000.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre (known as the core). A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the core. A CA must have a core population of at least 10,000. To be included in the CMA or CA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the core, as measured by commuting flows derived from previous census place of work data.

If the population of the core of a CA declines below 10,000, the CA is retired. However, once an area becomes a CMA, it is retained as a CMA even if its total population declines below 100,000 or the population of its core falls below 50,000. Small population centres with a population count of less than 10,000 are called fringe. All areas inside the CMA or CA that are not population centres are rural areas.

When a CA has a core of at least 50,000, it is subdivided into census tracts. Census tracts are maintained for the CA even if the population of the core subsequently falls below 50,000. All CMAs are subdivided into census tracts.

Census metropolitan area and census agglomeration code

Each CMA and CA is assigned a three-digit code that identifies it uniquely in Canada. The first digit is the same as the second digit of the province code in which the CMA or CA is located. If a CMA or CA spans a provincial boundary, then the province code assigned represents the province with the greater proportion of core population. Codes for CAs in Yukon and the Northwest Territories begin with the same digit as for those CMAs or CAs located in British Columbia. There are currently no CMAs or CAs in Nunavut.

CMA/CA code

CMA/CA name

001

St. John's CMA (N.L.)

215

Truro CA (N.S.)

462

Montréal CMA (Que.)

995

Yellowknife CA (N.W.T.)

If data for provincial parts are required, it is recommended that the two-digit province/territory (PR) code precede the CMA/CA code for those CMAs/CAs that cross provincial boundaries. For example:

PR-CMA/CA code

CMA/CA name

24 505

Ottawa - Gatineau CMA (Quebec part)

35 505

Ottawa - Gatineau CMA (Ontario part)

47 840

Lloydminster CA (Saskatchewan part)

48 840

Lloydminster CA (Alberta part)

For further information

https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo009-eng.cfm

Census tract (CT)

A.k.a. neighbourhood (only available in urban areas)

Reference maps

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/map-carte/ref/cma...

Shapefile

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/geo/bound-limit/files...

Official definition

Area that is small and relatively stable. Census tracts usually have a population between 2,500 and 8,000 persons. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations that have a core population of 50,000 or more.

Census tracts (CTs) are small, relatively stable geographic areas that usually have a population between 2,500 and 8,000 persons. They are located in census metropolitan areas and in census agglomerations that had a core population of 50,000 or more in the previous census.

A committee of local specialists (for example, planners, health and social workers, and educators) initially delineates census tracts in conjunction with Statistics Canada. Once a census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA) has been subdivided into census tracts, the census tracts are maintained even if the core population subsequently declines below 50,000.

Census tract code

Each census tract is assigned a seven-character numeric 'name' (including leading zeros, the decimal point and trailing zeros). To uniquely identify each census tract in its corresponding census metropolitan area (CMA) or tracted census agglomeration (CA), the three-digit CMA/CA code must precede the CT 'name.' For example:

CMA/CA code - CT name

CMA/CA name

562 0005.00

Sarnia CA (Ont.)

933 0005.00

Vancouver CMA (B.C.)

For further information

http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/ref/dict/geo013-eng.cfm

Types and availability of Census and NHS data tables

Profiles or Community Profiles

Profiles present information from the Census and NHS for various levels of geography. In Profiles, information is never crosstabulated. As such, geographic units are typically presented as rows, and variables (e.g. 0-14 years, French mother tongue, mean household income, etc.) are typically presented as columns. Profiles are available for free from the Statistics Canada website at certain geographic scales. 

The table below summarises the data available free of charge on the Statistics Canada website () and data available free of charge to members of the Community Data Program (). 

Source

PT

CMA/CA

CD

CSD

CT

DA

Custom geos

2011 Census Profile

2011 NHS Profile

 

 

 

 

Census Profiles are available free of charge from Statistics Canada at all standard geographic scales. We nonetheless have them catalogued in the communitydata.ca catalogue. For custom geographies, select "CG".

Download 2011 Census Profiles from the Community Data Program

NHS Profiles are available at all standard geographic scales except for the DA. However, only geographic units with a global non-response rate (GNR) lower than 50 percent are available on the Statistics Canada website. (More on GNRs in Part 2.)

The Community Data Program has NHS Profiles at all standard geographic scales, including all geographic units, regardless of GNR. The GNR for each geographic unit is also provided in the data ordered by CDP. In addition, NHS Profiles are currently available at custom geographies.

Download 2011 NHS Profile from the Community Data Program

Target Group Profiles

Target Group Profiles (TGPs) replicate Profiles for a specific subsection of the population, e.g. Francophones, seniors, recent immigrants, etc. That is to say, they present information from the Census and NHS at various levels of geography without further crosstabulations. Geographic units are typically presented as rows, while variables (e.g. 0-14 years, French mother tongue, mean household income, etc.) are typically presented as columns. No TGPs are available free of charge from the Statistics Canada website. 

In 2006, CDP ordered seven Target Group Profiles at all standard geographies:

  1. Target Group Profile of the Francophone population
  2. Target Group Profile of the population with difficulty in activities of daily living
  3. Target Group Profile of the visible minority population
  4. Target Group Profile of the Aboriginal identity population
  5. Target Group Profile of recent immigrants
  6. Target Group Profile of female lone parents
  7. Target Group Profile of the population 65 years and over

This year, we plan to order the same seven TGPs as before, plus an additional seven:

  1. Target Group Profile of the low income population (LIM-AT)
  2. Target Group Profile of the low income population (LICO-AT)
  3. Target Group Profile of the low income population (MBM)
  4. Target Group Profile of the population living alone
  5. Target Group Profile of immigrants
  6. Target Group Profile of the population aged 0-17
  7. Target Group Profile of the population in subsidized housing

We are in the process of acquiring these tables at the CMA-CA-CT and CD-CSD-DA geographies (ETA: spring 2014; Edit: View TGPs here). We will also order a subset of these 14 tables at custom geographies, once the geocoding process is complete.

Topic-Based Tabulations

Topic-Based Tabulations (TBTs) are thematic crosstabulations of Census/NHS data. The themes, or "topics" for 2011 are different from those in 2006.

2006 Census topics

  1. Aboriginal peoples
  2. Age and sex
  3. Education
  4. Ethnic origin and visible minorities
  5. Families and households
  6. Housing and shelter costs
  7. Immigration and citizenship
  8. Income and earnings
  9. Labour
  10. Language
  11. Marital status
  12. Mobility and migration
  13. Place of work and commuting to work
  14. Population and dwelling counts

2011 Census topics

  1. Age and sex
  2. Families, households and marital status
  3. Structural type of dwelling and collectives
  4. Language

2011 NHS topics

  1. Aboriginal Peoples
  2. Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity
  3. Education and Labour
  4. Mobility and Migration
  5. Income and Housing

Each TBT has a set of dimensions that are crosstabulated. That is to say, you can uncover information about multiple dimensions at the same time. To illustrate, this is an NHS Topic-Based Tabulation under the topic of Aboriginal Peoples:

It has five different dimensions:

  1. Registered or Treaty Indian status (3)
  2. Area of residence: On reserve (3)
  3. Sex (3)
  4. Age groups (20)
  5. Aboriginal identity (8)

Each dimension has a set of n variables within it where n is the number in brackets. For example, the "3" in "Sex (3)" refers to the following variables

  1. Total - Sex
  2.   Male
  3.   Female

Look up 2011 Census dimensions

Look up NHS dimensions ("Brows by variable" tab)

Several Topic-Based Tabulations are available free of charge from the Statistics Canada website. Unfortunately, most are only available at broad geographic scales, e.g. Province/Territory, Census Metropolitan Area. 

The Community Data Program has ordered certain TBTs from the Census at scales smaller than those available on Statistics Canada's website. We're also in the process of ordering TBTs from the NHS at scales smaller than those available on the Statistics Canada's website.

Download Census Topic-Based Tabulations from the Community Data Program
  1. Age and sex
  2. Families, households and marital status
  3. Structural type of dwelling and collectives
  4. Language
Download NHS Topic-Based Tabulations from the Community Data Program
  1. Aboriginal Peoples
  2. Immigration and Ethnocultural Diversity
  3. Education and Labour
  4. Mobility and Migration
  5. Income and Housing

NHS Topic-Based Tabulations are not yet available from the Community Data Program.

Urban Poverty Project (Edit: called Community Poverty Project for 2011 data)

Urban Poverty Project tables are custom-ordered crosstabulations that present the characteristics of low-income individuals, families, and households. There are 28 UPP tables from 2006. Their names, dimensions, and variables are listed in this spreadsheet. We intend to order all 28 UPP tables down to the smallest standard geographies, including DA when possible. We will also order a subset of UPP tables at custom geographies, including but not limited to UPP Table 1. Stay tuned for updates on UPP. (Edit: We are in the process of replicating most 2006 UPP tables using the 2011 NHS. View existing CPP tables here.)

Reasons why NHS data might be unavailable or suppressed

For National Household Survey, there are two reasons why data may not be available on the Statistics Canada website: (1) because the data have been suppressed for confidentiality purposes, or (2) because the data have a higher Global Non-Response rate than 50%. (The latter occurs if more than half of those who received a National Household Survey don't fill it out in a given geographic area.)

When we order NHS data, we order all geographic units regardless of GNR. So if you can't find data at your geography on the Statistics Canada website, it doesn't necessarily mean the data have been suppressed. Chances are, we have what you're looking for. Don't hesistate to ask us.

That's all for Part 1. If anything is still unclear about standard census geographies and data availability, don't hesitate to contact us for more informaiton.

Read Part 2