Census in Context: Documenting and Understanding the Making of 20th Century Canadian Censuses

Bellavance, Claude; Normand, France and Ruppert, Evelyn. 2007. Census in Context: Documenting and Understanding the Making of 20th Century Canadian Censuses. Historical Methods, 40(2), pp. 92-103. ISSN 0161-5440 [Article]

No full text available

Abstract or Description

One of the central goals of the Canadian Century Research Infrastructure (CCRI) is to construct a series of contextual databases related to the making and taking of the Canadian decennial censuses during first half of the twentieth century. This “data on the data” will provide researchers with the evidence necessary to undertake informed and critical analysis of the making, taking and reception of the census within its historical context. The contextual databases are the focus of this paper, which outlines conceptual and practical considerations involved in the collection and construction of two contextual data sources: newspapers and political debates. Drawing on two sets of examples related to the political stakes of the 1911 census we illustrate more concretely how this “data on the data” can be used. While the microdata derived from census manuscripts will enable research into the hidden history of the individual lives of Canadians, the contextual data will make possible inquiries about the making and interpreting of that data and the challenges of the great enumerations of contemporary history.

Item Type:


Departments, Centres and Research Units:




Item ID:


Date Deposited:

29 Apr 2013 13:21

Last Modified:

07 Jul 2017 12:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



Edit Record Edit Record (login required)