Since the seventeenth century, the Canadian census has documented important details about individuals and their families. Virtually all common identity markers used by Canadians appeared on census forms including gender, age, familiar relationship, race, ethnicity, occupation, religion, and language preference.
Today, census enumerations are the single most important source for understanding the complexity of an entire society. They are a bedrock for historical analysis and social policy. For a wide range of population-related research questions in Canada, there is no alternative to the census. Fortunately, the Canadian historical census is of exceptional quality.