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2. Census universes

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Population universe

2.3 Dwelling universe

2.4 Usual place of residence

2.1 Introduction

The 2006 Census involved the enumeration of the following five universes:

  1. the population universe
  2. the dwelling universe
  3. the household universe
  4. the family universe
  5. the geography universe.

The 2006 Census Coverage Error Measurement Program estimates coverage error for the population universe only. This section provides a description of the population universe and the dwelling universe. Since coverage error can be a result of misinterpretation of the concept of usual residence as presented on census forms, this section gives the information provided on the census form itself, and the 2006 Census definition of usual residence. Information on the variables associated with each universe can be found in the 2006 Census Dictionary.

2.2 Population universe

The population universe of the 2006 Census includes the following groups:

  • Canadian citizens (by birth or by naturalization) and landed immigrants with a usual place of residence in Canada.
  • Canadian citizens (by birth or by naturalization) and landed immigrants who are abroad, either on a military base or attached to a diplomatic mission.
  • Canadian citizens (by birth or by naturalization) and landed immigrants at sea or in port aboard merchant vessels under Canadian registry.
  • Non-permanent residents:
    • persons with a usual place of residence in Canada who are claiming refugee status and members of their families living with them
    • persons with a usual place of residence in Canada who hold study permits (covering Census Day) and members of their families living with them
    • persons with a usual place of residence in Canada who hold work permits (covering Census Day) and members of their families living with them.

The population universe of the 2006 Census does not include foreign residents but, since 1991, non-permanent residents are included in the population universe.

The definition of the population universe indicates which persons should be included in the census, but not where these persons should be enumerated. The Canadian census uses the modified de jure method of enumeration, whereby persons are to be enumerated at their usual place of residence, even if they are temporarily away at the time of the census. Persons away from their usual place of residence and residing elsewhere in Canada are to be enumerated at their usual place of residence and are considered 'temporary residents' at the other location ('Temporary residents' should not be confused with 'non-permanent residents' which refers to the legal status of the person while in Canada). Persons without a usual place of residence are to be enumerated wherever they happen to be on Census Day. Some countries use the de facto method, whereby all persons are to be enumerated wherever they are on Census Day, regardless of their usual place of residence.

2.3 Dwelling universe

A dwelling is defined as a set of living quarters in which a person or group of persons resides or could reside. Only dwellings in Canada are included. There are two types of dwellings:

  • A private dwelling is a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. The entrance to the dwelling must be one which can be used without passing through the living quarters of someone else. In addition, a private dwelling must have a source of heat or power and must be an enclosed space that provides shelter from the elements, as evidenced by complete and enclosed walls and roof and by doors and windows that provide protection from wind, rain and snow.
  • A collective dwelling is a dwelling of a commercial, institutional or communal nature. It may be identified by a sign on the premises or by an enumerator speaking with the person in charge, a resident, a neighbour, etc. Included are lodging or rooming houses, hotels, motels, tourist homes, nursing homes, hospitals, staff residences, communal quarters (military bases), work camps, jails, missions, group homes, and so on. Collective dwellings may be occupied by usual residents or solely by foreign and/or temporary residents.

These two main types of dwellings are subject to more detailed classifications:

  • Private dwellings can be regular private dwellings or occupied marginal dwellings. Regular private dwellings are further classified into three major groups: occupied dwellings (occupied by usual residents), dwellings occupied solely by foreign and/or temporary residents and unoccupied dwellings. An occupied marginal dwelling is an occupied private dwelling which, because it was not built, maintained or converted for year-round use, does not meet the two conditions for year-round occupancy (a source of heat or power and shelter from the elements). To be included in the census, the marginal dwelling must be permanently occupied by a person or a group of persons who have no other usual place of residence. Examples of occupied marginal dwellings are non-winterized cottages or cabins and unconverted barns or garages. Occupied marginal dwellings are classified as either occupied by usual residents or occupied solely by foreign and/or temporary residents. Marginal dwellings that were unoccupied on Census Day are excluded.
  • Collective dwellings are classified into occupied dwellings and unoccupied dwellings. Occupied dwellings are either occupied by usual residents or occupied solely by foreign or temporary residents. In the case of unoccupied collective dwellings, data were collected but are not included in census products.

In summary, the dwelling universe includes:

  • regular private dwellings occupied by usual residents
  • regular private dwellings occupied solely by foreign or temporary residents
  • regular private dwellings that are unoccupied
  • marginal dwellings provided they were occupied on Census Day
  • collective dwellings occupied by usual residents
  • collective dwellings occupied solely by foreign or temporary residents.

The dwelling universe does not include:

  • marginal dwellings that were unoccupied on Census Day
  • collective dwellings that were unoccupied on Census Day
  • dwellings outside Canada.

2.4 Usual place of residence

In most cases, people have only one residence and enumerating them at their usual place of residence is easily done. Enumeration consists of listing all usual residents of the dwelling on Census Day by following the step-by-step instructions at the beginning of the census questionnaire: 'Including yourself, how many persons usually live here, at this address, as of May 16, 2006. Include all persons who usually live here, even if they are temporarily away. Consult the instructions on page 3 if needed.'

The Page 3 instructions were:

  1. WHOM TO INCLUDE IN STEP B
    • EVERYONE WHO USUALLY LIVES HERE, AT THIS ADDRESS, including newborn babies and room-mates;
    • STUDENTS who return to live with their parents during the year should be included at their parents' address, even if they live elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job;
    • CHILDREN IN JOINT CUSTODY who live here most of the time. Children who spend equal time with each parent should be included in the home of the parent where they are staying on May 16, 2006;
    • SPOUSES OR COMMON-LAW PARTNERS WHO LIVE ELSEWHERE while working or studying, but who return here periodically;
    • LANDED IMMIGRANTS who usually live at this address;
    • Persons claiming REFUGEE STATUS and family members living here with them;
    • PERSONS FROM ANOTHER COUNTRY WITH A WORK OR STUDY PERMIT and family members living here with them;
    • PERSONS who usually live here but are now IN AN INSTITUTION (such as a home for the aged, a hospital or a prison), IF THEY HAVE BEEN THERE LESS THAN SIX MONTHS;
    • PERSONS staying here on May 16, 2006, WHO HAVE NO USUAL HOME ELSEWHERE.

  2. DO NOT INCLUDE IN STEP B
    • Persons who have their usual home at another address in Canada and who are staying here temporarily (for example, persons visiting or persons who have their secondary residence here, at this address).
    • Residents of another country visiting Canada (for example, on a business trip or on vacation).
    • Government representatives of another country and their family members.

There are a number of situations where the determination of an individual's usual place of residence is not elementary and special rules have been created to define the usual place of residence:

  1. Persons with more than one residence.
    • This category includes all persons who have more than one dwelling in Canada that could be considered by them as their usual place of residence. In this situation, the usual place of residence is the place where a person spends the major part of the year. If the time spent at each residence is equal or the person is not sure which one to choose, the residence where he or she stayed overnight on Census Day (between May 15 and 16, 2006) should be considered as his or her usual place of residence. There are two exceptions to this rule:

    • Sons or daughters who live somewhere else while attending school, but return to live with their parents part of the year, should consider the residence they share with their parents as their usual place of residence, even if they spend most of the year elsewhere.

    • Husbands, wives or common-law partners who live away from their families while working, but return to their families regularly (for example, on weekends), should consider the residence they share with their spouse or partner as their usual place of residence, even if they spend most of the year elsewhere.

  2. Persons in institutions such as a hospital, a home for the aged, a prison or a correctional centre.
  3. Persons with no other usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada, or persons who have been in one or more institutions for a continuous period of six months or longer, are to be considered to be usual residents of the institution.

  4. Residents with no usual place of residence.
  5. Residents who do not have a usual place of residence should be enumerated in the dwelling where they stayed overnight between May 15 and May 16, 2006.

  6. Persons residing outside Canada.
  7. Canadian citizens and landed immigrants residing outside Canada on Census Day including:

    • persons aboard Canadian government or merchant vessels
    • Canadian federal and provincial government employees and their families
    • members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families who do not have a permanent place of residence within Canada occupied by one or more members of their family were asked to provide on the census questionnaire the address they use for election purposes or their last permanent address within Canada. This information is then used to determine a geographic location for defining usual place of residence.

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