Persons per room of private household

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on November 19, 2012.


Persons per room refers to an indicator of the level of crowding in a private dwelling. It is calculated by dividing the number of persons in the household by the number of rooms in the dwelling.

Private household refers to a person or group of persons who occupy the same dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada or abroad. The household universe is divided into two sub-universes on the basis of whether the household is occupying a collective dwelling or a private dwelling. The latter is a private household.


'Persons per room' is a measure of crowding that considers all rooms in a private dwelling and the number of household members. An alternative measure is the National Occupancy Standard (NOS) crowding which assesses crowding using the required number of bedrooms for a household based on the age, sex, and relationships among household members.

A higher value of "persons per room" indicates a higher level of crowding.

The "persons per room" of a household can be published as a characteristic of each member of the household.


'Persons per room' is calculated by dividing the number of persons in a private household by the number of rooms in the dwelling.

The average "persons per room" is calculated as the sum of "persons per room" of all private households divided by the number of private households.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard conforms to recommendations for censuses contained in United Nations' Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2, 2008. The United Nations recommends tabulations of the number of rooms and the number of occupants in housing units as a measure of crowding. The United Nations considers densities of three or more persons per room to be overcrowded under any circumstance but states that this level may be raised or lowered for national use. The United Nations recognizes that age and sex are significant factors for a detailed study of overcrowding.

The Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing recommends crowding be examined by cross-tabulations on the number of occupants in housing units and housing units classified by number of rooms or by number of bedrooms. It also recognized that some countries consider the number of bedrooms a more accurate indicator of overcrowding when defined by age, sex and relationships of members within the household.


  • 'Persons per room' is expressed as a number ranging from 0 to the highest number on the file. November 19, 2012 to current


Additional information


Relation to previous version

  • Persons per room of private household November 19, 2012 to current

    This is the current standard.

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