Rooms of private dwelling

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on May 17, 2010.


Rooms refers to enclosed areas within a private dwelling which are finished and suitable for year round living. The number of rooms in a private dwelling includes kitchens, bedrooms and finished rooms in the attic or basement. The number of rooms in a private dwelling excludes bathrooms, halls, vestibules and rooms used solely for business purposes. Partially divided rooms are considered to be separate rooms if they are considered as such by the respondent (e.g., L-shaped dining-room and living-room arrangements).

Private dwelling refers to a separate set of living quarters with a private entrance either from outside the building or from a common hall, lobby, vestibule or stairway inside the building. The entrance to the dwelling must be one that can be used without passing through the living quarters of some other person or group of persons.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

This standard is similar to the recommendations for censuses contained in the United Nations' "Principles and Recommendations for Population and Housing Censuses, Revision 2", 2008. The United Nations recommendations suggest including rooms used for business purposes in the count of rooms in a dwelling. However, the United Nations does state that rooms used exclusively for business or professional purposes should be identified separately so that they can be excluded when calculating the number of persons per room. Since Statistics Canada's intention is to support the calculation of the number of persons per room, the exclusion of rooms used solely for business purposes is appropriate in this standard. Furthermore, in order to reduce international variability in the count of rooms, the United Nations provides more specifications on defining the characteristics of a room than appear in this standard. For example, the United Nations specifies that a room is space in a housing unit that is enclosed by walls and has an area large enough to hold a bed for an adult, that is, at least four square metres.

The "Conference of European Statisticians Recommendations for the 2010 Censuses of Population and Housing", 2006, use the same general definition of rooms; however, their inclusions and exclusions differ slightly. These recommendations exclude utility rooms (such as boiler rooms and laundry rooms) as well as rooms without windows that are not functionally used for domestic purposes.


  • 'Rooms' is expressed as a number ranging from one room to the maximum on the data file. May 17, 2010 to current


Relation to previous version

  • Rooms of private dwelling May 17, 2010 to current

    This is the current standard.

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