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1996 Census Geography Files

Click on the level of geography to see available files.

census geography diagram

Enumeration Area (EA)

The geographic area canvassed by one census representative. It is the smallest standard geographic area for which census data are reported. All the territory of Canada is covered by EAs. There are 49,361 enumeration areas.

Census Tract (CT)

Small geographic units representing urban or rural neighbourhood-like communities created in census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations (with an urban core population of 50,000 or more at the previous census). There are 4,223 census tracts.

Census Subdivision (CSD)

General term applying to municipalities (as determined by provincial legislation) or their equivalent (for example, Indian reserves, Indian settlements and unorganized territories). There are 5,984 census subdivisions.

Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) / Census Agglomerations (CA)

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a large urban area (known as the urban core). The census population count of the urban core is at least 10,000 to form a census agglomeration and at least 100,000 to form a census metropolitan area. To be included in census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census place of work data. There are 25 census metropolitan areas and 112 census agglomerations.

Urban Area (UA)

Urban areas have minimum population concentrations of 1,000 and a population density of at least 400 per square kilometre, based on the previous census population counts. All territory outside urban areas is considered rural. Taken together, urban and rural areas cover all of Canada. There are 929 urban areas.

Census Consolidated Subdivision (CCSD)

A grouping of census subdivisions. Generally the smaller, more urban census subdivisions (towns, villages, etc.) are combined with the surrounding, larger, more rural census subdivision, in order to create a geographic level between the census subdivision and the census division. There are 2607 census consolidated subdivisions.

Census Division (CD)

General term applied to areas established by provincial law which are intermediate geographic areas between the municipality (census subdivision) and the province level. Census divisions represent counties, regional districts, regional municipalities and other types of provincially legislated areas. There are 288 census divisions.

Federal Electoral District (FED)

An area represented by a member of the House of Commons. The federal electoral district boundaries used for the 1996 Census are based on the 1987 Representation Order which had a total of 295 federal electoral districts.

Designated Place (DPL)

Areas created by provinces to provide services and to structure fiscal arrangements for submunicipal areas which are often within unorganized areas. The concept of a designated place generally applies to small communities for which there may be some level of legislation, but the communities fall below the criteria established for municipal status, that is, they are "submunicipal" or unincorporated areas. There are 828 designated places.

Province and Territory

Boundaries of the 10 provinces and 2 territories.

Block Face Data Files (BFDF)

Provides information on the smallest geographical unit available from Statistics Canada, namely the block-face in urban centres covered by Street Network Files. A block-face is one side of a city street between two consecutive intersections.

Block-faces are available where there is Street Network File (SNF) coverage, that is, for large urban centres with a population of 50,000 or more in the urban core. The 1991 and 1996 Block-face Data Files are available for 25 census metropolitan areas (CMA) and 18 census agglomerations (CA). In some cases, only portions of CMAs/CAs are covered by SNF; thus some urban centres may be only partially covered by the Block-face Data File.

The block-face information includes street name (including street type and direction), address range, geographic codes, x,y coordinates for a representative point and 1991 and 1996 population and dwelling counts. The total number of Block Face Data Files for 1996 BFDFs is 817,734.

Street Network and Feature Extension Files (SNFEF)

The street network files are digital files representing the street network for most large urban centres in Canada.


Last Updated: 21 November 2014

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