Dictionary, Census of Population, 2021
Adjusted counts

Release date: November 17, 2021


Over the course of the five-year census cycle, the boundaries that define the geographic areas maintained at Statistics Canada for collecting and disseminating data can change for various reasons. For example, legislation is published to enact a change to the boundary shared between two municipalities. Such a municipal boundary change is then reflected in Statistics Canada's census subdivision (CSD) geography, which then results in the update of boundaries that must respect the CSD, such as the census tract (CT) or dissemination area (DA).

When a boundary change occurs, the previous census population and dwelling counts associated with the affected geographic areas are adjusted (revised) to reflect the updated total number of persons and dwellings from the previous census to the current census boundaries.

Reported in

2021, 2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966, 1961 and 1956 (population)

2016, 2011, 2006, 2001 and 1996 (dwellings)


When a boundary change occurs, the adjusted population and dwelling counts are determined by examining information collected during the previous census as well as other administrative data sources. The dwellings and associated population affected by the boundary change are identified. These counts are then added to the geographic area that has increased in size and subtracted from the geographic area that has decreased in size.

Boundary changes to standard geographic areas between censuses are generally flagged in census outputs. This is done to warn users doing trend or longitudinal analysis that the areas being compared have changed over time.

When new areas are created, such as census subdivision (municipal) incorporations, adjusted counts facilitate the calculation of change. For dissolutions or major boundary changes, the use of adjusted counts instead of the previous census final counts often provides a better measure of trends by removing the effect of the boundary change from the calculation.

Refer to the related definition of Census Subdivision (CSD).

Changes prior to the current census

Not applicable

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