Release and Concepts Overview
2016 Census of Population:
Type of dwelling release

Release date: March 15, 2017

1. Objectives

Census of Population release topics will be accompanied by their own Release and Concepts Overview and will be available from Statistics Canada's website in advance of each release.

The purpose of the Release and Concepts Overview series is to provide an overview of:

  • the concepts, definitions and key indicators used by each of the major 2016 Census of Population releases

  • the products that will be available on each major day of release and later.

The Release and Concepts Overview series will help partners, stakeholders and other data users to better understand the information being released.

This Release and Concepts Overview is for the Type of dwelling release, which will be on May 3, 2017.

The information provided in this overview is subject to change.

2. Concepts and definitions: Type of dwelling

Private dwelling

Refers to a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. The entrance to the dwelling must be one that can be used without passing through the living quarters of some other person or group of persons.

For a detailed definition of private dwelling, refer to the Census Dictionary.

Note: Unless otherwise specified, all data are for private dwellings occupied by usual residents. "Private dwellings occupied by usual residents" are also referred to as "occupied private dwellings" in certain census products.

Collective dwelling

Refers to 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 establishments, nursing homes, hospitals, staff residences, military bases, work camps, jails, group homes, and so on.

Note: Only data for collective dwellings occupied by usual residents are published, and limited information is available about their residents.

Classification of collective dwelling types

  • Health care and related facilities
    • Hospitals
    • Nursing homes
    • Residences for senior citizens
    • Residential care facilities such as group homes for persons with disabilities or addictions
  • Correctional and custodial facilities
  • Shelters
  • Service collective dwellings
    • Lodging and rooming houses
    • Hotels, motels and other establishments with temporary accommodations
    • Other service collective dwellings
  • Religious establishments
  • Hutterite colonies
  • Others

Structural type of private dwelling

Refers to the structural characteristics and/or dwelling configuration; that is, whether the dwelling is a single-detached house, an apartment in a high-rise building, a row house, a mobile home, etc.

Note: This variable is reported for all private dwellings and does not apply to collective dwellings. More information on dwelling characteristics (e.g., number of rooms, dwelling condition and condominium status) will be released on October 25, 2017.

Classification of structural type of dwelling

  • Single-detached house
  • Semi-detached house
  • Row house
  • Apartment or flat in a duplex
  • Apartment in a building that has fewer than five storeys
  • Apartment in a building that has five or more storeys
  • Other single-attached house
  • Movable dwelling

Household size

Refers to the number of persons in a private household.

Note: A private household corresponds to the usual residents living in a private dwelling.

3. Key indicators

Counts of dwellings

  • Count of private dwellings
  • Count of collective dwellings

Example: According to the 2011 Census, there were 446,140 occupied private dwellings in Manitoba.

Counts of people living in dwellings

  • Number of enumerated people living in private dwellings
  • Number of enumerated people living in collective dwellings

Example: In 2011, 352,205 seniors aged 65 and over lived in a collective dwelling that focused on special care for seniors.

Structural type of dwelling as a percentage of all occupied private dwellings

  • Proportion, in percentage, of single-detached houses

Example: In 2011, 60.6% of private households in Calgary lived in single-detached houses, and 6.4% lived in apartments in buildings that have five or more storeys. The rest lived in other types of dwelling structures.

Average household size

  • Average household size of a region

Example: The average household size in Prince Edward Island was 2.4 people in 2011, compared with the Canadian average household size of 2.5 people.

4. Products and activities available with this release

The following will be available with the Type of dwelling release on May 3, 2017:

  • Analytical products
    • The Daily article
    • Census in Brief
    • Infographic
  • Data products
    • Highlight tables
    • Data tables
    • Census Profile
    • Focus on Geography Series
  • Geography product
    • GeoSearch
  • Social media
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Chat with an expert (May 5, 2017)
  • Reference products
    • Release and Concepts Overview series
    • Guide to the Census of Population, 2016
    • Structural Type of Dwelling and Collectives Reference Guide
    • Census Dictionary

The following provides additional details on some key products that will be available at the time of the Type of dwelling release. Together, they will provide main findings, important messages, latest trends and additional background information.

  • The Daily article: This will provide main findings and important messages about the Age and sex and Type of dwelling topics.

  • Census in Brief: A short article that will present some information on the structural types of dwellings in Canada, as well as in census metropolitan areas (CMAs). It will also include basic information on the population living in collective dwellings.

    • Dwellings in Canada

  • Infographic: This will allow users to quickly visualize some key findings on the types of dwellings from the 2016 Census of Population.

  • Highlight tables: These tables will provide data on structural types of dwellings for various levels of geography, including distributions and percentage changes from 2011. The highlight tables allow users to perform simple rank and sort functions.

  • Data tables: These cross-tabulations will provide a portrait of Canada in terms of the types of dwellings and the demographic characteristics of people living in these dwellings.

  • Census Profile: The profile will be updated with a statistical overview of structural types of dwellings and household size for various levels of geography.

  • Focus on Geography Series: This will present highlights on structural types of dwellings, types of collective dwellings and household size through text, tables and figures for various levels of geography, including Canada, provinces, territories, census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs), and Canadian municipalities (census subdivisions).

  • Structural Type of Dwelling and Collectives Reference Guide: This guide will explain census concepts and changes made to the 2016 Census. It will also include information about data quality and historical comparability, as well as comparisons with other data sources.

  • Guide to the Census of Population, 2016: This reference document provides an overview of the 2016 Census of Population processes, including content determination, collection, processing, data quality assessment, data dissemination and data suppression. It also includes response rates, global non-response rates, the distribution of the number of census subdivisions for which data have been published, by province and territory and at the national level, as well as other data quality information.

    The majority of the content was released with the population and dwelling counts release; additional content will be added with the age and sex and subsequent releases.

  • Census Dictionary: This provides detailed definitions of census concepts, variables and geographic terms, as well as historical information to facilitate the comparison between census years. Content is released cumulatively through to November 2017, with the majority of the definitions released on May 3, 2017.

  • Social media activities with this release

  • Facebook and Twitter: The official social media accounts will also be used to communicate and engage with the public for the dissemination of results from the 2016 Census of Population.

  • Chat with an expert: Users are invited to chat with Statistics Canada experts on the topics of Age and sex and Type of dwelling on May 5, 2017, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Eastern daylight time. For more information, refer to Statistics Canada’s website: Chat with an expert.

5. Products available after release

The following products will be available with later releases:

Analytical products

  • Census in Brief: An article on housing will be available at the time of the Housing release on October 25, 2017.
  • Data visualization tool. More information about this initiative will be made available during the release cycle.

Data products

  • More housing data products will be available with the Housing release on October 25, 2017.
  • 2016 Census Aboriginal Population Profile
  • 2016 Census Individuals Public Use Microdata File (PUMF)
  • 2016 Census Hierarchical Public Use Microdata File (PUMF)
  • 2016 Census Long-form Research Data Centre (RDC) Microdata File

Reference products

  • Reference guides (various topics)
  • Technical reports

6. 2016 Census Program web module

To access the 2016 Census of Population products, please consult the 2016 Census Program web module.

7. 2016 Census Program release schedule

Release dates, 2016 Census Program
Release date Release topic
November 16, 2016 Geography
February 8, 2017 Population and dwelling counts
May 3, 2017

Age and sex

Type of dwelling

May 10, 2017 Census of Agriculture
August 2, 2017

Families, households and marital status


September 13, 2017 Income
October 25, 2017

Immigration and ethnocultural diversity


Aboriginal peoples

November 29, 2017



Journey to work

Language of work

Mobility and migration

8. Contact information

General enquiries

Media Relations – Media Hotline

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