Estimates of the number of census families for July 1st, Canada, provinces and territories

Detailed information for July 1, 2022





Record number:


This estimates program provides annual estimates of the number of census families for Canada, provinces and territories.

Data release - November 9, 2022


This estimates program provides annual estimates of the number of census families for Canada, provinces and territories. Starting in 2006, a new method is used to produce the estimates of census families.

This estimates program is used in the calculation of demographic, social and economic indicators. These estimates are used for planning, program evaluation and base population for various studies.

Reference period: July 1st to June 30th


  • Families, households and housing
  • Population and demography
  • Population estimates and projections

Data sources and methodology

Target population

For the purpose of generating estimates, the definition of family is, with one exception, similar to what is used for the census. As defined up to and including the 2016 Census, a census family can be any of the following:

- a married couple and the children, if any, of either and/or both spouses;
- a couple living common law and the children, if any, of either and/or both partners;
- a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling and that child or those children.

Children may be children by birth, marriage, common-law union or adoption regardless of their age or marital status as long as they live in the dwelling and do not have their own married spouse, common-law partner or child living in the dwelling. Grandchildren living with their grandparent(s) but with no parents present also constitute a census family.

The exception resides in how same-sex couples are recognized. While in census, same sex common-law partners are creating a census family, this is not the case for the estimates program before 2006. Starting in 2006, the estimates program has the same definition as the census.

Instrument design

Not applicable.


This methodology does not apply.

Data sources

Data are extracted from administrative files and derived from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

Before 2006, these estimates were based on results from the census, adjusted for the family census net undercoverage. Starting in 2006, estimates of the number of census families are computed using data from the T1 Family File, the census, the family census net undercoverage coming from coverage studies and population estimates.

For postcensal estimates, data coming from the census and the coverage studies are derived using 2016 data.

Error detection

This methodology type does not apply to this statistical program.


No imputation was done.


Starting in 2016, postcensal estimates of the number of census families are produced with a three steps methodology: 1) correction of the T1 Family File biases using census numbers of family heads; 2) adjustment of the T1 Family File data for the reference date using population estimates; 3) adjustment of the coverage of the census using census coverage studies.

From 2006 to 2015, the estimates are intercensal. They are produced with the same method as the postcensal estimates. Only the parameters of the model change. The correction coefficients and the adjustment for the census net undercoverage are linearly interpolated from two consecutive censuses and the population estimates are intercensal.

From 1986 to 2006, the intercensal estimates were the result of a linear interpolation between census counts adjusted for the family census net undercoverage.

Quality evaluation

For more detailed information on the quality evaluation of the estimates of the number of census families, see Chapter 10 of Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada, Centre for Demography, Catalogue No. 91-528-XIE (available through the "Publications" sidebar).

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

Data are revised once a year and after each census, postcensal estimates are revised to produce the intercensal estimates.

Demographic estimates are revised using birth, death and interprovincial and international migration statistics when they become available. Revisions may result in notable changes for certain components, particularly for interprovincial migration.

Interprovincial migration data are derived from two sources. Preliminary migration estimates are based on changes of addresses recorded by the Canada child benefit program from the Canada Revenue Agency, and are available shortly after the reference month. Final interprovincial migration estimates are based on addresses supplied on personal income tax returns, and are available a year after the reference year.

Data accuracy

Three sources of error and bias contribute to the error of closure: 1) the method used; 2) the correction for the census net undercoverage; 3) the universes covered.


  • Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada
    The Population and Family Estimation Methods at Statistics Canada guide provides detailed descriptions of the data sources and methods used by Statistics Canada to estimate population. They comprise postcensal and intercensal population estimates; base population; births and deaths; immigration; emigration; non-permanent residents; interprovincial migration; subprovincial estimates of population; population estimates by age, sex and marital status; and census family estimates.

    Last review: November 17, 2015
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