1921 Canadian Census

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1921 Canadian census

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General information
Total population8,788,483 (Increase 22%)

The Canada 1921 census was a detailed enumeration of the Canadian population. The census count was taken as at 1 June 1921. The total population count was 8,788,483 representing a 22% increase over the 1911 Census population count of 7,206,643.[1][2] The 1921 Census was the sixth comprehensive decennial census since Canadian Confederation on 1 July 1867.[2][3] The previous census was the 1916 census and the following census was in 1926 census.

Census summary

Information was collected on the following five subjects, with separate schedules or questionnaires for each subject:[3][4]

  1. Population
  2. Agriculture
  3. Animals, animal products, fruits not on farms
  4. Manufacturing and trading establishments
  5. Supplemental questionnaire for persons who were blind and deaf.

The five schedules contained a total of 565 questions. The population questionnaire contained 35 questions with those on insanity and fertility having been dropped and a new question recording the birthplaces of the father and mother of each individual.[3][4][5]

Population by province

Province 1921 Census[1][2] 1911 Census[1] % Change
Prince Edward Island 88,615 93,728 -5.5
Nova Scotia 523,837 492,338 6.4
New Brunswick 387,876 351,889 10.2
Quebec 2,361,199 2,005,776 17.7
Ontario 2,933,622 2,527,292 16.1
Manitoba 610,118 461,394 32.2
Saskatchewan 757,510 492,432 53.8
Alberta 588,454 374,295 57.2
British Columbia 524,582 392,480 33.7
Yukon Territory 4,157 8,512 -51.2
Northwest Territories 7,988 6,507 22.8
Royal Canadian Navy 485 0 N/A
Total 8,788,483 7,206,643 22.0

The most significant population growth took place in the Prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where the population count increased by 47%.[1][2]


The census was conducted by the Dominion Bureau of Statistics formed in 1918 by the Statistics Act. Census fieldwork was carried out by 241 commissioners and 11,425 enumerators responsible for the corresponding numbers of census districts and subdistricts structured to correspond closely to federal electoral constituencies and polling subdivisions respectively.[2][3] A special staff of up to 350 in Ottawa compiled the census results using mechanical tabulation methods.[3][4] In 1955, the paper census schedules were destroyed after the population schedules were microfilmed.[2]

Release date and format

In accordance with the Statistics Act, the 1921 census returns were in the custody of Statistics Canada and the records were closed until 92 years after the taking of the census.[6][7] In 2013 the records were opened for public use and transferred to Library and Archives Canada (LAC).[2][8] In early July 2013, a spokesperson for LAC advised that the data comprises 197,529 images, and "Once assembled and fully indexed, it will constitute the largest on-line record of Canadian genealogical information."[9][10] On 8 August 2013, raw digital images of the population schedules were made available to browse for free with a geographic index of districts and sub-districts on the private Ancestry.ca website.[11][12] Ancestry.ca transcribed and indexed the data to facilitate advanced searches by individual Ancestry.ca subscribers, and in person at LAC and subscribing libraries, from late in 2013. The census data was scheduled to be made available on the LAC website three years after being made available on the Ancestry.ca website.[13][14][15][16][17] The fully indexed online census data was launched by Ancestry.ca on 29 October 2013. The data is free to search, subject to registration on the Ancestry.ca website.[18][19] On 30 August 2017, the results of the 1921 were made available on the Library and Archives Canada website.[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Canada Year Book 1922-23" (PDF). Statistics Canada. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "1921 Census countdown!". Library and Archives Canada. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e Worton, David Albert (1998). The Dominion Bureau of Statistics: a history of Canada's Central Statistical Office and its antecedents, 1841-1972. Montreal [Que.]: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 89–91. ISBN 0773516603.
  4. ^ a b c "History of the Census of Canada". Statistics Canada. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  5. ^ "1921 Population Census Schedule". Canadian Century Research Infrastructure. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  6. ^ "BILL S-18: AN ACT TO AMEND THE STATISTICS ACT". Parliament of Canada. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  7. ^ "Statistics Act". Government of Canada. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 18. (1) The information contained in the returns of each census of population taken between 1910 and 2005 is no longer subject to sections 17 and 18 ninety-two years after the census is taken. (3) When sections 17 and 18 cease to apply to information referred to in subsection (1) or (2), the information shall be placed under the care and control of the Library and Archives of Canada.
  8. ^ "Census of Canada, 1921 – Available to Researchers in the Next Few Weeks". LAC. 4 June 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2013. Library and Archives Canada took custody of the Census of the Canadian population, 1921 from Statistics Canada and is beginning work to make it discoverable for Canadians.
  9. ^ Shouldice, Alison (1 July 2013). "Release of 1921 census data on hold". The Kingston Whig-Standard. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  10. ^ Munson, James (8 July 2013). "Genealogy buffs fume while awaiting 'imminent' 1921 Census data". iPolitics. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Census of Canada 1921 Now Available to Researchers". LAC. 8 August 2013. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Canadian Census". Ancestry.com. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  13. ^ Roberts, Rick (8 August 2013). "1921 Census of Canada was released online today – free". GlobalGenealogy.com. Retrieved 10 August 2013. LAC to responds to questions asked by our readers: 'After 3 years, the census and the nominal index goes back to LAC's free site. Access to the census will always be free, whether on Ancestry or LAC.'[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ Daubs, Katie (9 August 2013). "1921 Canadian census data released online, to genealogists' delight". Toronto Star. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  15. ^ Zilio, Michelle (9 August 2013). "After more than two-month delay, 1921 census released". iPolitics. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  16. ^ Buchanan, Fiona (11 August 2013). "Newly released historical census data offers genealogists a rare glimpse into 1920s Canada". National Post. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  17. ^ Sturdevant, Shirley L. (12 August 2013). "LAC Answers Questions about Release of 1921 Census". Ontario Genealogical Society. Retrieved 13 August 2013.[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ Ancestry.ca (29 October 2013). "Journey back to the Roaring Twenties with the launch of the 1921 Census of Canada" (Press release). Retrieved 30 October 2013.
  19. ^ MacLellan, Stephanie (30 October 2013). "1921 census provides a glimpse into Toronto's multicultural past". Toronto Star. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  20. ^ "Explore the Census of Canada 1921!". Library and Archives Canada. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017.

External links

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