Release and Concepts Overview
2016 Census of Population:

Release date: July 26, 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 Income release, which will be on September 13, 2017.

The information provided in this overview is subject to change.

2. Concepts and definitions


  • For the first time in 2016, the Census of Population Program gathered income information solely from administrative data sources. The use of administrative data reduces respondent burden at the time of data collection and increases the quality and quantity of income data available.

  • The census release of September 13, 2017, will present individual, family and household income statistics for various levels of geography and various demographic groups.

  • More income estimates will be available in subsequent major census releases, when ethnocultural, housing, education and labour characteristics collected by the long-form census questionnaire are featured.

Target population and reference period

  • The Income release covers a suite of income, contribution and low-income concepts.

  • Individual income and contribution information is compiled for the population aged 15 years and older in private households.

  • Family- and household-level income data are aggregated from the individual-level data and cover only private households.

  • Low-income statistics are reported for the entire population in private households where low-income concepts are applicable.

  • For all income and contribution variables, the reference period is the year 2015.

Total income

Figure description

This figure presents total income as having two main components: (1) market income and (2) government transfers.

Market income has four components: (1) employment income, which is wages, salaries and commissions plus net self-employment income, (2) investment income, (3) private retirement income, and (4) market income not included elsewhere.

Government transfer payments has five components: (1) Old Age Security pension (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS), (2) Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Québec Pension Plan (QPP) benefits, (3) Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, (4) child benefits and (5) other government transfers.

Total income can also be presented as the sum of after-tax income and income taxes. Income taxes comprises net federal income tax and provincial and territorial income taxes.

Source: Statistics Canada, Income Statistics Division.

Components of total income

Total income

Income taxes and after-tax income

Income taxes

After-tax income


Voluntary contributions to registered savings accounts:

Mandatory contributions:

Low-income concepts

Demographic characteristics

In the upcoming income release, income statistics will be presented for different demographic characteristics:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Family characteristics
  • Household characteristics
  • Dwelling characteristics

Socioeconomic characteristics

In subsequent census releases, various socioeconomic characteristics of the Canadian population from the long-form sample will be available, in conjunction with income information.

  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Ethnic origin and visible minority
  • Immigration status
  • Housing characteristics
  • Education
  • Labour


In addition to making data available for Canada, the following other levels of geography will be available:

  1. Province or territory
  2. Census metropolitan area (CMA)
  3. Census agglomeration (CA)
  4. Census division (CD)
  5. Census subdivision (CSD)
  6. Census tract (CT)
  7. Population centre (POPCTR)
  8. Federal electoral district (FED)
  9. Economic region (ER)
  10. Forward sortation area (FSA)©
  11. Designated place (DPL)
  12. Aggregate dissemination area (ADA) (new!)
  13. Dissemination area (DA)

3. Key indicators

Median income

The median income of a specified group is the amount that divides the income distribution of that group into two halves (i.e., the incomes of half of the units in that group are below the median, while those of the other half are above the median).

Example: In 2005, the median household total income in Ontario was $60,455.

Note: Median is the measure of central tendency that is available for 100% of the population.

Average income

The average income of a specified group is calculated by dividing the aggregate income of that group by the number of units in that group.

Example: In 2005, the average household after-tax income of one-person households in Alberta was $35,690.

Note: For confidentiality reasons, averages are estimated only from the sampled population and will be available on October 25, 2017, with the next major Census of Population release.

Presence of income from a given source

Proportion or number of units with income from a given source.

Example: In 2005, 71% of the population aged 15 years and older in Canada had employment income.

Income distribution

Distribution by income brackets.

Example: Of the 3,189,345 households in Quebec in 2005, 226,840 had household after-tax income over $100,000, while 69,590 had household after-tax income below $5,000.

Prevalence of low income

Percentage of persons living in families or households below various low-income lines.

Example: In 2005, 17% of children (0 to 17 years old) in Canada lived in low-income households based on the Low-income measure, after tax (LIM-AT).

4. Products and activities available with this release

The following will be available with the Income release on September 13, 2017:

  • Analytical products
    • The Daily article
    • Census in Brief
    • Infographic
  • Data products
    • Highlight tables
    • Data tables
    • Census Profile
    • Focus on Geography Series
  • Geography products
    • Thematic maps
    • GeoSearch
  • Reference products
    • Release and Concepts Overview series
    • Guide to the Census of Population, 2016
    • Census Dictionary
    • Income Reference Guide
  • Social media
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Chat with an expert (September 15, 2017)

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

  • The Daily article: This will include the main findings and important messages about the Income topic.

  • Census in Brief: Two short articles will provide analyses focusing on current issues relevant from a public policy perspective:

    • Children living in low-income households
    • Household contribution rates for selected registered savings accounts
  • Infographic: This will allow users to quickly visualize some key findings on income from the 2016 Census of Population.

  • Highlight tables: These tables provide data on income for various levels of geography. The highlight tables allow users to perform simple rank and sort functions.

  • Data tables: These cross-tabulations allow for a more detailed examination of Canada, by comparing up to eight variables across various levels of geography.

  • Census Profile: This product provides key statistics about the dwellings and the people living there. Users are able to select a standard geographic area and compare two geographic areas. They can search by place name or postal code for an area of interest as large as Canada or as small as a grouping of city blocks.

  • Focus on Geography Series: This product presents highlights through short text, tables and figures for various release topics and levels of geography, including Canada, provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas (CMAs), census agglomerations (CAs) and Canadian municipalities (census subdivisions).

  • Thematic maps: These show the spatial variation across Canada for selected income indicators.

  • Income Reference Guide: This guide provides information about data collection methods, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data.

  • 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 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 topic of income on September 15, 2017, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., Eastern 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

  • Articles in Insights on Canadian Society (ICS)
  • Data visualization tool. More information about this initiative will be made available during the release cycle.

Data products

  • Additional data tables at various levels of geography
  • 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

  • Income Reference Guide updates
  • 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


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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