Structural Type of Dwelling and Collectives Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016

Release date: May 3, 2017

Definitions and concepts

The census counts dwellings for two main purposes. The first is to associate people with a spatial unit; otherwise, it would be difficult to ensure that a person is enumerated once and only once. The second objective is to publish counts of the dwellings themselves, along with information about dwelling characteristics.

The dwelling universe consists of collective dwellings and private dwellings. The following classifications further describe private dwellings, as defined in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-301-X and have been created in accordance with the 2016 Census dwelling universe:

Structural type of dwelling refers to the structural characteristics and/or dwelling configuration. This dwelling characteristic variable is collected for all private dwellings in Canada and does not apply to collective dwellings.

A collective dwelling is a dwelling used for commercial, institutional or communal purposes. In standard census products, data on collective dwellings are available for collective dwellings with at least one usual resident.

Classifications

Structural type of dwelling

The variable for structural type of dwelling classifies private dwellings into the following nine mutually-exclusive categories: single-detached house, semi-detached house, row house, apartment or flat in a duplex, apartment in a building that has five or more storeys, apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys, other single-attached house, mobile home and other movable dwelling. The Census Dictionary provides a definition for each structural type of dwelling.

Collective dwelling

The 2016 Census also collected information about collective dwelling type. Collective dwellings are organized into 10 broad categories: hospital, nursing home and/or residence for senior citizens, residential care facility, shelter, correction or custodial facility, lodging or rooming house, religious establishment, Hutterite colony, establishment with temporary accommodation services and other establishment. These categories have been established based on the services provided by the establishment and the type of residents. Data about the types, levels of services offered and the clientele are used to derive a more detailed classification of collective dwellings. The Census Dictionary provides a definition for every type of collective dwelling.

Collective dwellings can also be classified as institutions or non-institutions. This variant classification is used to create the institutional resident indicator which is used for some Census data products. The distinction between institutional and non-institutional collectives is described in the Census Dictionary.

The disseminated data arranges collective dwelling types into categories of collective dwellings. These categories have been established based on considerations of data quality and historical comparability.

Questions

The data describing the structure of each dwelling, whether the dwelling is private or collective, are obtained directly from trained enumerators.

Structural type of dwelling

The Census of Population, 2016, questionnaires have no specific question that aim to collect information on the structure of each dwelling. Rather, structural type of dwelling is collected by trained enumerators. A picture representation of the structural type of dwelling, and its definition, is supplied to enumerators. This helps ensure consistency in the classification process across Canada. The following diagrams are some of the tools used to assign the structural type.

Single detached house (Code 1)

A single dwelling not attached to any other dwelling or structure (except its own garage or shed). A single-detached house has open space on all sides, and has no dwellings either above it or below it.

A mobile home fixed permanently to a foundation should be coded as a single-detached house. (See Code 8.)

Illustration of single detached house (Code 1)

Semi-detached house (Code 2)

One of two dwellings attached side by side (or back to back) to each other, but not to any other dwelling or structure (except its own garage or shed). A semi-detached dwelling has no dwellings either above it or below it and the two units together has open space on all sides.

Illustration of semi-detached house (Code 2)

Row house (Code 3)

One of three or more dwellings joined side by side (or occasionally side to back), such as a town house or garden home, but not having any other dwellings either above or below.

If row houses are attached to high-rise buildings, assign code 3 to each townhouse.

Illustration of row house (Code 3)

Apartment or flat in a duplex (Code 4)

One of two dwellings located one above the other. If duplexes are attached to triplexes or other duplexes or to other non-residential structure (e.g. a store), assign code 4 to each apartment or flat in the duplexes.

Illustration of Apartment or flat in a duplex (Code 4)

Illustration of Apartment or flat in a duplex (Code 4) and Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys (Code 6)

Apartment in a building that has five or more storeys (Code 5)

A dwelling unit in a high-rise apartment building which has five or more storeys.

Also included are apartments in a building that has five or more storeys where the first floor and/or second floor are commercial establishments.

Illustration of Apartment in a building that has five or more storeys (Code 5)

Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys (Code 6)

A dwelling unit attached to other dwelling units, commercial units, or other non-residential space in a building that has fewer than five storeys.

Illustration of Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys (Code 6)

Other single-attached house (Code 7)

A single dwelling that is attached to another building and that does not fall into any of the other categories, such as a single dwelling attached to a non-residential structure (e.g., store or church) or occasionally to another residential structure (e.g., apartment building).

Illustration of Other single-attached house (Code 7)

Mobile homes (Code 8)

A single dwelling designed and constructed to be transported on its own chassis and capable of being moved to a new location on short notice. It may be placed temporarily on a foundation such as blocks, posts or a prepared pad and may be covered by a skirt.

A mobile home must meet the following two conditions:

Mobiles homes (Code 8)

Other movable dwelling (Code 9)

A single dwelling, other than a mobile home, used as a place of residence, but capable of being moved on short notice, such as a tent, recreational vehicle, travel trailer, houseboat, or floating home.

Illustration of Other movable dwelling (Code 9)

Collective dwelling

Collective dwellings are classified using data collected by census enumerators with the Collective Dwelling Record, Form 1A. Each collective dwelling is enumerated using a unique Form 1A. This form is used in the enumeration of all collective dwellings and provides an overview of the collective dwelling, including the total number of usual residents and the type of collective being enumerated. In order to create the more detailed classification of collective dwellings, an administrator of each collective dwelling is asked a series of auxiliary questions regarding the level of services provided at the collective dwelling. Based on this information, the appropriate collective dwelling classification is assigned. See Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Collective dwelling type code and auxiliary questions

Figure 1.1 Collective dwelling type code and auxiliary questions

Description for Figure 1.1

Note: Information on the historical comparability of the Census of Population, 2016, questions with those asked in earlier censuses is provided in the 'Comparability' section of this document.

Data quality

The 2016 Census of Population underwent a thorough data quality assessment, similar to what was done for past censuses. A number of data quality indicators (briefly described below) were produced and used to evaluate the quality of the data.

The data quality assessment was done in addition to the regular quality checks completed at key stages of the census. For example, during data collection and processing, the consistency of the responses provided was checked and the non-response rates for each question were analysed. As well, the quality of imputed responses was assessed as part of the data editing and imputation steps. Finally, resulting census counts were compared with other data sources, and certified for final release.

The main highlights of this assessment for the data pertaining to the structural type of dwelling and collectives are presented below.

Data quality indicators

A number of quality indicators were produced and analysed during the data quality assessment of the Census of Population. Two of these are presented to users: the global non-response rate (GNR) and the imputation rate by question.

The GNR combines non-response at the household level (or total non-response) and non-response at the question level (partial non-response). It is calculated for each geographic area. The GNR is the key criterion that determines whether or not the census counts are released for a given geographic area – data are suppressed for geographic areas with a GNR equal to or greater than 50%. More information on the GNR is available in the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-304-X.

The imputation rate by question, excluding imputation for total non-response, is a quality measurement specific to each question in the census. It measures the proportion of respondents (“respondents” being defined as those for whom a fully or partially completed questionnaire was returned) who did not answer the question, or whose response was invalid and for which a valid value was assigned. Imputation eliminates gaps in the data and, when done appropriately, reduces bias introduced by non-response. This is done by identifying persons or households in the same geographical area that have characteristics similar to the incomplete record and by copying their values to fill in the missing or erroneous responses.

Certification of final counts

Once data processing, editing and imputation were completed, the data were tabulated to represent the total Canadian population. Certification of the final counts was the last step in the validation process leading to recommendation for release of the data for each geography and domain of interest. Based on the analysis of data quality indicators and the comparison of the census counts with other data sources, the recommendation is for unconditional release, conditional release or non-release for quality reasons. In the case of conditional release or non-release, appropriate notes and warnings are included in the products and provided to users. Several data sources were used to evaluate the census counts. However, since the risk of error often increases for lower levels of geography and for smaller populations, and the data sources used to evaluate these counts are less reliable (or not available) at these lower levels, it can be difficult to certify the counts at these levels.

Census counts are also subject to confidentiality rules that ensure non-disclosure of individual respondent identity and characteristics. For more information on census confidentiality rules, please refer to the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-304-X.

Comparability of concepts over time

Structural type of dwelling

The structural type of dwelling concept has remained relatively stable since the 1981 Census. Though there were no changes between the 2016 and 2011 censuses, there have been some adjustments to the concepts and classifications in earlier censuses. In 2011, additional information was added for classification within definitions for 'row house' and 'apartment in a building that has five or more storeys.' Starting in 2006, 'apartment or flat in a duplex' includes duplexes attached to other dwellings or buildings. Prior to the 2006 Census, duplexes attached to other dwellings or buildings were classified as an 'apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys.' Starting in 1981, dwellings in apartment buildings are classified in two categories, 'apartment in a building that has five or more storeys' and 'apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys.' Previously, this distinction between the heights of apartment buildings was not available and these types of dwellings were all classified as 'apartments.' Since there are more variants in the classification of structural type of dwelling prior to the 1981 Census, users are cautioned to use census reference materials when making historical comparisons that predate the 1981 Census.

Collective dwellings

For the 2016 Census of Population there are three changes to the existing classifications of collective dwelling types.

  1. Nursing homes and residences for senior citizens were classified separately for the 2016 Census, as was done in 2011. However, an additional category was introduced for 2016 to classify facilities which offer both levels of services at these facilities. The description of the new category is 'Extended health care services to some residents, but only support services or assisted living services to other residents. For example, a facility that is a mix of both a nursing home and a residence for senior citizens.'
  2. In 2011, residential care facilities were classified into one of three groups based on the main type of service provided at the facility. The 2016 collection method, however, allowed for multiple responses to the different types of services provided at these facilities. As a result, residential care facilities are now assigned the same collective dwelling type value and five additional flags indicate whether the facility provides one or more of the following services:
    • services primarily for children/minors
    • services for persons with psychological disabilities
    • services for persons with physical challenges and/or disabilities
    • services for persons that are developmentally delayed
    • services for persons with an addiction.
  3. The classification for hotels, motels and other establishments with temporary accommodations excludes bed and breakfasts for the 2016 Census of Population. Bed and Breakfasts, which are now a part of the private dwelling universe, were classified as collective dwellings in the 2011 and earlier censuses.

Comparability with other data sources

Structural type of dwelling

Some other surveys, including, but not limited to, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) and the Survey of Household Spending (SHS), collect structural type of dwelling data. In these cases, the data may be respondent-reported via questionnaire. These responses do not always have the same level of detail as is recorded by the trained enumerators during listing activities for the Census of Population. For this reason, users are advised to refer to the Census Dictionary as well as any survey-specific metadata when comparing structural type of dwelling with other data sources.

Collective dwellings

Users should be cautioned that the census collective dwelling types are not expected to always agree with classifications used in administrative data or other sources. In the census, some collective dwellings are classified by the types and levels of services offered, rather than by their name or official status from a business or institutional perspective. Furthermore, census data are only collected for usual residents living in collective dwellings. Data for foreign residents and/or temporarily present persons are not collected in the census, while these residents may be included in other administrative data sources.

Data quality notes

Structural type of dwelling

The overall quality of the dwelling variables from the 2016 Census of Population is deemed acceptable. While considerable effort is made throughout the entire process to ensure a high standard of data quality, the resulting data are subject to a certain degree of inaccuracy. The evaluation process for the dwelling variable consisted of the following:

To assess the appropriateness of the 2016 Census of Population data for a user's needs, and to understand the risk involved in drawing conclusions from or making decisions on the basis of these data, users should be aware of the following data quality indicators for the dwelling variables.

For the 2016 Census, the information for structural type of dwelling was validated or updated for almost 38% of private dwellings during the listing and field operation activities leading up to Census Day. For the remaining 62% of dwellings, the dwelling structural type is based on Statistics Canada's dwelling register, which draws from administrative sources and prior listing and field operation activities. The rates of structural type of dwelling validation or updating for private dwellings by province and territory can be seen in Table 1 below.

Three percent (3.0%) of the records for the structural type of dwelling were blank or invalid after listing and field activities, and required imputation for the 2016 Census of Population. This is almost identical to the rate for the 2011 Census. Imputation rates by province and territory can be seen in Table 1 below.

Table 1
Total private dwellings, validated or updated during listing activities, imputation rates for Canada, Provinces and Territories, Census of Population, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total private dwellings. The information is grouped by Total - Structural type of dwelling (appearing as row headers), Census 2016 (appearing as column headers).
Total - Structural type of dwelling Census 2016
Total Percent validated or updated Percent imputed
Canada 15,412,443 37.8% 3.0%
Newfoundland and Labrador 265,739 70.8% 2.3%
Prince Edward Island 71,119 74.9% 2.0%
Nova Scotia 458,568 56.4% 2.1%
New Brunswick 359,721 42.6% 3.8%
Quebec 3,858,943 28.2% 3.1%
Ontario 5,598,391 30.6% 2.9%
Manitoba 539,748 47.7% 2.0%
Saskatchewan 495,582 61.3% 3.0%
Alberta 1,654,129 48.7% 3.1%
British Columbia 2,063,417 47.0% 3.3%
Yukon 17,987 74.1% 3.0%
Northwest Territories 17,666 100.0% 0.6%
Nunavut 11,433 100.0% 1.7%

Comparisons of structural type of dwelling data for Canada between the 2011 and 2016 censuses in Table 2 show small variations in the share of dwelling types: a decrease in the share for 'single-detached house' (-1.4 percentage points), an increase in the share for 'apartment in a building that has five or more storeys' (+0.6 percentage points), an increase in the share for 'row house' (+0.4 percentage points) and an increase in the share for 'apartment or flat in a duplex' (+0.3 percentage points).

Table 2
Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada, Census of Population, 2006, 2011 and 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada. The information is grouped by Canada (appearing as row headers), 2006, 2011, 2016, Difference between 2011 and 2006 and Difference between 2016 and 2011 (appearing as column headers).
Canada 2006 2011 2016 Difference between 2011 and 2006 Difference between 2016 and 2011
Total - Structural type of dwelling 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable Note ...: not applicable
Single-detached house 55.3% 55.0% 53.6% -0.2Notepp: percentage point -1.4Notepp: percentage point
Apartment in a building that has five or more storeys 9.0% 9.3% 9.9% 0.3Notepp: percentage point 0.6Notepp: percentage point
Movable dwelling 1.3% 1.4% 1.3% 0.1Notepp: percentage point 0.0Notepp: percentage point
Other dwelling 34.5% 34.3% 35.2% -0.1Notepp: percentage point 0.8Notepp: percentage point
Semi-detached house 4.8% 4.9% 5.0% 0.1Notepp: percentage point 0.1Notepp: percentage point
Row house 5.6% 5.9% 6.3% 0.4Notepp: percentage point 0.4Notepp: percentage point
Apartment or flat in a duplex 5.4% 5.3% 5.6% -0.1Notepp: percentage point 0.3Notepp: percentage point
Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys 18.4% 18.0% 18.0% -0.4Notepp: percentage point 0.0Notepp: percentage point
Other single-attached house 0.3% 0.3% 0.3% -0.1Notepp: percentage point 0.0Notepp: percentage point

To facilitate comparisons of structural type of dwelling between the census and other data sets, some categories may need to be regrouped. When comparing census counts to the Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates, Table 3, and Survey of Household Spending (SHS) estimates, Table 4, the three sources produce similar distributions of structural type of dwelling. The most notable difference is in single-detached house, however, similar to the differences between the distributions for the other classifications, this difference is relatively stable over time.

Table 3
Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada, LFS estimates May 2005, May 2010, May 2015, Census of Population 2006, 2011, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada. The information is grouped by Canada (appearing as row headers), 2005
LFS, 2006
Census, Difference between 2006 Census and 2005 LFS , 2010
LFS, 2011
Census , Difference between 2011 Census and 2010 LFS , 2015
LFS , 2016
Census and Difference between 2016 Census and 2015 LFS (appearing as column headers).
Canada 2005
LFS
2006
Census
Difference between 2006 Census and 2005 LFS 2010
LFS
2011
Census
Difference between 2011 Census and 2010 LFS 2015
LFS
2016
Census
Difference between 2016 Census and 2015 LFS
Total 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable
Single-detached house 58.4% 55.3% -3.1Notepp: percentage point 57.3% 55.0% -2.2Notepp: percentage point 55.9% 53.6% -2.3Notepp: percentage point
Apartment in a building that has five or more storeys 7.9% 9.0% 1.0Notepp: percentage point 9.1% 9.3% 0.1Notepp: percentage point 9.5% 9.9% 0.4Notepp: percentage point
Movable dwelling 1.5% 1.3% -0.2Notepp: percentage point 1.6% 1.4% -0.2Notepp: percentage point 1.3% 1.3% 0.1Notepp: percentage point
Semi-detached house 4.3% 4.8% 0.5Notepp: percentage point 4.5% 4.9% 0.4Notepp: percentage point 4.7% 5.0% 0.3Notepp: percentage point
Row house 5.7% 5.6% -0.2Notepp: percentage point 6.1% 5.9% -0.1Notepp: percentage point 7.0% 6.3% -0.6Notepp: percentage point
Apartment or flat in a duplex 4.1% 5.4% 1.3Notepp: percentage point 4.0% 5.3% 1.3Notepp: percentage point 4.3% 5.6% 1.3Notepp: percentage point
Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys 17.3% 18.4% 1.1Notepp: percentage point 16.8% 18.0% 1.2Notepp: percentage point 17.0% 18.0% 1.0Notepp: percentage point
OtherTable 3 Note 1 0.8% 0.3% -0.5Notepp: percentage point 0.6% 0.3% -0.4Notepp: percentage point 0.4% 0.3% -0.1Notepp: percentage point
Table 4
Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada, SHS estimates 2005, 2010, 2015 and Census of Population, 2006, 2011, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Distribution of private dwellings occupied by usual residents by structural type of dwelling for Canada. The information is grouped by Canada (appearing as row headers), 2005
SHS, 2006
Census, Difference between Census 2006 and SHS 2005, 2010
SHS, 2011
Census, Difference between 2011 Census and 2010 SHS , 2015
SHS, 2016
Census and Difference between 2016 Census and 2015 SHS (appearing as column headers).
Canada 2005
SHS
2006
Census
Difference between Census 2006 and SHS 2005 2010
SHS
2011
Census
Difference between 2011 Census and 2010 SHS 2015
SHS
2016
Census
Difference between 2016 Census and 2015 SHS
Total 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable 100.0% 100.0% Note ...: not applicable
Single-detached 56.9% 55.3% -1.7Notepp: percentage point 56.4% 55.0% -1.4Notepp: percentage point 54.0% 53.6% -0.4Notepp: percentage point
Single-attachedTable 4 Note 1 10.1% 10.6% 0.6Notepp: percentage point 11.6% 11.0% -0.5Notepp: percentage point 13.0% 11.6% -1.5Notepp: percentage point
ApartmentTable 4 Note 2 31.1% 32.8% 1.8Notepp: percentage point 30.3% 32.6% 2.3Notepp: percentage point 31.9% 33.5% 1.6Notepp: percentage point
OtherTable 4 Note 3 1.9% 1.3% -0.6Notepp: percentage point 1.8% 1.4% -0.4Notepp: percentage point 1.1% 1.3% 0.2Notepp: percentage point

Collective dwellings

Different treatment of how individual buildings of a collective are counted (i.e., counted as separate collectives or just one collective) results in trends that might give false impressions of growth or decline in specific categories. The counts of collective dwellings for some categories may reflect the count of individual buildings rather than business or institutional entities.

Difficulties in distinguishing between similar collective types may also have impacts on the counts from one census to another.

The 2016 Census measured the living arrangements of persons in seniors' residence and nursing home collective dwellings. People were classified as living alone in their unit, living as a couple in their unit or living with others in their unit. In some seniors' residence and nursing home collective dwellings, however, incomplete information from administrative records or questionnaires, as well as scanning errors during processing, resulted in at least 5% of persons being systematically classified as living alone in their unit regardless of their true living arrangements.

For the 2016 Census, 5.5% of collective dwelling records had blank or invalid information after field activities and, as a result, required imputation to derive the detailed collective dwelling classification. This was done in processing using the responses recorded in Section II of the Form 1A (Figure 1.1). In 2011, the detailed collective dwelling classification was assigned during field activities using a different collection tool (2011 Collective dwelling profile - PR-1) and no collective dwelling records required imputation. Imputation rates by type of collective dwelling can be seen below in table 5.

Table 5
Total collective dwellings imputation rates for Canada, Census of Population, 2016
Table summary
This table displays the results of Total collective dwellings imputation rates for Canada. The information is grouped by Canada (appearing as row headers), 2016 Census (appearing as column headers).
Canada 2016 Census
Total Imputation rate
Total - collective dwellings 43,485 5.5%
Hospitals 900 4.9%
Nursing homes and residences for senior citizens 6,330 5.0%
Residential care facilities 9,015 4.1%
Shelters 1,195 5.5%
Correctional and custodial facilities 815 5.2%
Lodging and rooming houses 2,150 Note ...: not applicable
Religious establishments 1,160 Note ...: not applicable
Hutterite colonies 375 Note ...: not applicable
Establishments with temporary accommodation services 17,495 6.8%
Other establishments 4,060 8.6%

Additional Information

For additional information on structural type of dwelling and collective dwellings, please refer to the Topics page. Additional information about data quality and universes can be found in the Guide to the Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-304-X.

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