Family size of census family

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on November 16, 2015.


Family size refers to the number of persons in the family.

Census family is defined as 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; or a lone parent of any marital status with at least one child living in the same dwelling and that child or those children. All members of a particular census family live in the same dwelling. A couple may be of opposite or same sex. 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.


'Family size of census family' is derived from the responses to questions about the relationships among the people who live in the household.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard is compatible with the "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", 2006 which recommended that family nuclei should be classified by size according to the total number of resident members of the family.


  • 'Number of persons (two or more)' is expressed as a number ranging from two to the maximum number on the file. October 22, 2007 to current
  • Classification of whole number March 16, 1998 to current

Relation to previous version

  • Family size of census family November 16, 2015 to current

    This is an update to 'Size of census family'. The concept has been renamed "Family size" and its definition has been simplified.

  • Size of census family October 22, 2007 to November 15, 2015

    This standard was replaced by the 'Family size of census family' as of November 16, 2015.

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