Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Usual place of residence

Release date: February 8, 2017


"Usual place of residence in Canada" refers to the dwelling in which the person usually lives. It is used to identify the person as a member of a particular household and, potentially, family (depending on the composition of the household).

A person is considered to be a member of the household at their usual place of residence, only.

For persons with one residence, that residence is their usual place of residence.

For persons with no residence, their usual place of residence is where they stayed on some specified date.

For persons with more than one residence in Canada, their usual place of residence is the place where the person spends the major part of the year, with the following exceptions.

For persons with a residence in Canada and a residence outside Canada, their Canadian residence is their usual place of residence.

Canadian government employees, including Canadian Armed Forces personnel, residing outside Canada for all of the reference period are out of scope for most surveys. The census, which does include them, determines a geographic location for their usual place of residence using the address they used for election purposes or their last permanent address.

In the context of the Census of Population, person refers to Canadian citizens, landed immigrants (permanent residents), persons asking for refugee status (refugee claimants), persons from another country with a work or study permit and family members living here with them. Foreign residents are excluded.

Statistical unit(s)

Not applicable


Not applicable

Reported in

2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961.

Reported for

Not applicable

Question number(s)

Not applicable


Not applicable


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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