Geography

During the 2016 Census Program content consultation, information was collected on the need for/use of various geographic areas. Combined, census division/census subdivision (equivalent to counties/regions and municipalities) are the standard levels of geography most frequently cited.

Note: The Census Program, in most instances, is the only source of socioeconomic data at detailed levels of geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract and dissemination area). Household surveys typically do not have a large enough sample size to produce small area data.

As presented in the following table, approximately 43% to 46% of the uses submitted by provincial/ territorial government, local government and non-government organizations require data at detailed levels of geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract, dissemination area). The results also demonstrate a varying interest in 'other geographies,' including custom areas, with the majority of these reported uses needing data below the census metropolitan area. Consultation input reveals that participants rely on Census Program data at detailed levels of geography and other geographical levels for two-thirds (66%) of all reported data uses.

Table 6
Percentage distribution (%) of data uses by combined level of geography, by sector

Table 6 Percentage distribution of data uses by combined level of geography, by sector
Level of geography Federal government Provincial/territorial
government
Local government Other sectors Combined total
Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.
Canada, province/territory,
census metropolitan area/
census agglomeration
47.6 36.6 22.4 35.4 34.0
Census division/census subdivision,
census tract, dissemination area
34.9 44.7 46.3 42.5 42.8
Other geographies 17.6 18.7 31.3 22.1 23.2

Federal government

Almost half (47.6%) of the uses submitted by the federal government specified data at higher levels of geography (i.e., national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area/census agglomeration), compared with 34.9% of uses that require results at detailed levels of geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract, dissemination area), and 17.6% of uses that need Census Program information based on other geographies.

Other geographies comprise federal electoral district, population centre, economic region, health region and postal code, among others. Custom geographies such as school board districts, land claim areas, on-and off-reserve, Indian settlements and ports were also reported.

Examples of reported federal sector uses that need data at detailed geographic levels include to support legislation such as the Employment Equity Act and to carry out responsibilities under the National Housing Act. These results are used for chronic disease surveillance and monitoring, emergency management planning, service delivery, policy and research, tracking of trends in cultural and artistic occupations, recruitment, monitoring social and economic well-being of resource-dependent communities, mapping and market research.

Chart 2
Census Program data uses by level of geography, federal government sector

Description

This pie chart shows a percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography for the federal government sector. This chart is broken into seven levels of geography including: national; provincial/territorial; census metropolitan area/census agglomeration; census division/census subdivision; census tract; dissemination area; and other geography.

Percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography, federal government sector
Level of geography Data use percentage
National 16.4
Provincial/territorial 18.1
Census metropolitan area/census agglomeration 13.1
Census division/census subdivision 22.5
Census Tract 7.1
Dissemination Area 5.2
Other Geography 17.6
Chart 2 Census Program data uses by level of geography, federal government sector

Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.

Provincial/territorial government

Conversely, 44.7% of the data uses submitted by provincial/territorial governments indicated a need for data at detailed levels geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract, dissemination area), compared with 36.6% of uses that rely on results at higher levels of geography (i.e., national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area/census agglomeration). The distribution of provincial/territorial sector uses that specified Census Program data based on other geographies (18.7%) is comparable to that of the federal sector.

Other geographies comprise economic region, population centre, forward sortation area, postal code and dissemination block, among others. Custom geographies such as provincial administrative region, provincial electoral district, public health unit and health region were also mentioned.

Examples of reported provincial/territorial government uses that need data at detailed geographic levels include the Multicultural Immigration Strategy in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Employment Development Act in New Brunswick, the Plan commun de surveillance de l'état de santé de la population et de ses déterminants in Quebec, the after school initiative in Ontario, the Provincial Employment and Income Assistance program in Manitoba, career and employment services in Saskatchewan, regional development in Alberta, transportation and infrastructure decisions in British Columbia and public service workforce planning in Yukon.

Chart 3
Census Program data uses by level of geography, provincial/territorial government sector

Description

This pie chart shows a percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography for the provincial/territorial government sector. This chart is broken into seven levels of geography including: national; provincial/territorial; census metropolitan area/census agglomeration; census division/census subdivision; census tract; dissemination area; and other geography.

Percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography, provincial/territorial government sector
Level of geography Data use percentage
National 8.0
Provincial/territorial 15.9
Census metropolitan area/census agglomeration 12.7
Census division/census subdivision 30.5
Census Tract 8.8
Dissemination Area 5.4
Other Geography 18.7
Chart 3 Census Program data uses by level of geography, provincial/territorial government sector

Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.

Local government

Local government consultation participants reported the greatest incidence of uses (46.3%) requiring data at detailed levels of geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract, dissemination area), compared with 22.4% of uses needing data at higher levels of geography (i.e., national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area/census agglomeration). This sector also exhibited the greatest requirement of data for other geographies, as demonstrated in 31.3% of reported uses.

Other geographies comprise population centre, designated place, dissemination block, block face and postal code, among others. Custom geographic areas such as traffic zone, borough, city ward, custom neighbourhood, police patrol zone and service delivery area were also cited.

Examples of reported local government uses that need data at detailed geographic levels include regional/municipal official plans, program planning and service delivery for various population groups including youth, seniors, immigrants, Aboriginal peoples and persons with disabilities, resource allocation for local service plans, infrastructure and transportation planning, land use planning, reporting on employment equity policies, community outreach, violence prevention plans, the provision of interpretative services, community action plans for housing, spatial analysis (maps), population and housing projections, community profiles and Council reports.

Chart 4
Census Program data uses by level of geography, local government sector

Description

This pie chart shows a percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography for the local government sector. This chart is broken into seven levels of geography including: national; provincial/territorial; census metropolitan area/census agglomeration; census division/census subdivision; census tract; dissemination area; and other geography.

Percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography, local government sector
Level of geography Data use percentage
National 4.2
Provincial/territorial 6.7
Census metropolitan area/census agglomeration 11.5
Census division/census subdivision 22.4
Census Tract 11.6
Dissemination Area 12.3
Other Geography 31.3
Chart 4 Census Program data uses by level of geography, local government sector

Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.

Other sectors

This sector also relies on Census Program data at detailed levels of geography (i.e., census division/census subdivision, census tract, dissemination area) as confirmed in 42.5% of reported uses, compared with 35.4% of uses that require results at higher levels of geography (i.e., national, provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area/census agglomeration), and 22.1% of uses specifying a need for other geographies.

Other geographies comprise economic region, metropolitan influence zone, population centre, dissemination block, forward sortation area and postal code, among others. Custom geographies such as traffic zone, trade/service area and health region were also noted.

Examples of reported non-government sector uses that need data at detailed geographic levels include program and service delivery, policy development, priority setting and strategic planning, advocacy, grant applications, modelling, travel forecasts, spatial distribution of employment, market segmentation, trade area and market potential analysis and site location research.

Chart 5
Census Program data uses by level of geography, other sectors

Description

This pie chart shows a percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography for the non-government sector. This chart is broken into seven levels of geography including: national; provincial/territorial; census metropolitan area/census agglomeration; census division/census subdivision; census tract; dissemination area; and other geography.

Percentile distribution of Census Program data uses by level of geography for the non-government sector
Level of geography Data use percentage
National 7.6
Provincial/territorial 14.7
Census metropolitan area/census agglomeration 13.1
Census division/census subdivision 24.4
Census Tract 9.3
Dissemination Area 8.8
Other Geography 22.1
Chart 5	Census Program data uses by level of geography, non-government sector

Source: Statistics Canada, Census Operations Division, 2016 Census Program content consultation.

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