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1916 Canada Census Questions

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta

The population in the western areas of Canada grew quite a lot in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) was built and many immigrants used it as a means of transportation to the western areas.

Manitoba, which became a province in 1870 composed almost entirely of the city of Winnipeg, grew rapidly. In 1905, the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta were created, and the boundaries of Manitoba were also redefined.

In 1906 the Canadian government took a special census of these prairie provinces, and that practice continued from 1906 to 1956. So Canada had a national census on the "one" years (1901, 1911, etc.), and a special prairie province census five years after each of those (1906, 1916, etc.)

The enumerators counted and recorded information about 1,686,666 individuals distributed as follows: Alberta (495,351), Saskatchewan (642,484), and Manitoba (548,831). There were three Schedules used in 1916, but only Schedule 1, Population, was microfilmed and preserved. This 1916 census officially began on June 1, 1916.


Column Question
Number in the order of visitation (1-2)
1 Dwelling house
A count of the houses in which there is a family or a household.
2 Family, household or institution
A count of the families or households, entered opposite the name of the head of the family
Residence and Personal Description (3-12)
3 Name of each person in family, household or institution
Entered with the surname (or last name) first. If applicable, a middle initial could be entered.
Entered in the following order: Head, Wife, Sons and daughters (in the order of their ages), Relatives, servants, boarders, lodgers or other persons.
4 Military Service
Special column listed all persons living in the Prairie Provinces who had enlisted for military service and were either in training camps in Canada or were overseas.
If overseas "O" was entered; if in Canada "C" was entered. The name of the camp was entered in column 8.
Location of habitation. In rural locations give township, range and meridian. In cities, towns and villages give street and number of dwelling. (5-8)
5 Township
The number of the township
6 Range
The number of the range
7 Meridian
The number of the meridian
8 Municipality
The name of the municipality
9 Relationship to head of family or household
The head of the family (or household or institution) was entered as such (i.e. head), with the remaining members and their relation to the head (e.g. wife, son, daughter, servant, boarder, lodger, partner, etc.).
10 Sex
Denoted by "m" for male and "f" for female
11 Single, married, widowed, divorced or legally separated
Denoted by "s" (single person), "m" (married), and "w" (widowed), "d" (divorced) and "l.s." (legally separated).
12 Age at last birthday
Age at last birthday prior to June 1, 1916.
For children under one year of age, fractions were used (for example, for 2 months, "2/12" was indicated)
Nativity and Religion (13-14)
13 Country or place of birth.
(If born in Canada, specify province or territory)
14 Religion
Citizenship (15-17)
15 Year of immigration to Canada
The year in which the individual moved to Canada from another country.
The year in which Canadian-born persons had returned to Canada after living in another country.
16 Year of naturalization
For persons 21 years old and older who were born in a country other than the United Kingdom or any of its dependencies.
If a person had applied for citizenship but had not yet reached full status, this was indicated by the letters "pa." for papers.
17 Nationality
People born in Canada or naturalized citizens were considered "Canadians".
The country of birth or the country to which the person professed to owe allegiance.
Race and Language (18-21)
18 Racial or tribal origin
Usually traced through the father, except for aboriginals for whom the origin is traced through the mother. Names of their tribes should have been given.
Children from interracial unions were classed as "Negro" (black and white races) or "Mongolian" (yellow [Chinese or Japanese] and white races).
19 Can speak English
Yes or no
20 Can speak French
Yes or no
21 Other language spoken as mother tongue
Selected one of the following: Armenian, Bohemian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Gaelic, German, Greek, Japanese, Lithuanian, Magyar, Norwegian, Polish, Rumanian, Russian, Ruthenian, Slovak, Slovenian or Wendish, Spanish, Swedish, Syrian, Turkish, Welsh, Yiddish or Jewish
Education (22-23)
22 Can read
Yes or no
23 Can write
Yes or no
Profession, Occupation or Means of Living (24-26)
24 Chief occupation or trade.
For every person of 10 years and older.
The particular work done for which the individual earned money, or the word "income" or "none".
25 Employer (E), employee or worker (W) or working on own account (O.A.)
How the individual earned his/her income
26 State where person is employed as "on farm", "in cotton mill", "in foundry", "in dry goods store", "in saw-mill", etc.
Where the person was employed when an occupation or trade is indicated in Column 24.

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