Usual place of residence

Part A - Short definition:

In general, the usual place of residence is the dwelling in Canada in which a person lives most of the time.

Part B - Detailed definition:

In most cases, people have only one residence. This dwelling is therefore their usual place of residence (main residence).

However, there are a number of situations where the process is not elementary and special rules have been created in order to define an individual's 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 between May 9 and 10, 2011 should be considered as his or her usual place of residence.

    However, there are two exceptions to this general rule:

    1. 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.
    2. 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 nursing home, a prison or a correctional centre)

    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 usual residents of the institution.

  3. Residents with no usual place of residence

    Residents who do not have a usual place of residence should be enumerated in the dwelling where they stayed overnight between May 9 and May 10, 2011.

  4. Persons residing outside Canada

    Canadian citizens and landed immigrants residing outside Canada on the reference day (particularly persons aboard Canadian government or merchant vessels, Canadian government employees (federal and provincial) and their family, and members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their family) who do not have a permanent place of residence within Canada occupied by one or more family members, were asked to provide on the 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 their usual place of residence.

Census years:

2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961

Reported for:

Not applicable

Question number(s):

Not applicable

Responses:

Not applicable

Remarks:

The concept of usual place of residence is necessary to ensure that residents of Canada are counted once and only once. The use of this concept means that the Canadian census is a de jure census, as opposed to a de facto census. Thus, individuals are counted at their usual place of residence, regardless of where they are found on the reference day. The de jure method has been used since 1871.

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