Analysing 2001 Census microdata


The Census of Population, conducted every five years, is the largest survey of Canada's people. It provides a wealth of data to help Canadians understand the current situation in Canada. In this activity, students will be introduced to the microdata files from the 2001 Census and begin to analyse census variables of their choice.

Contributors: Joel Yan and Jennifer Hall, Statistics Canada, with input from an activity developed by Melanie Einwechter, Queen's University


During this activity, students will reinforce their data analysis skills using census microdata. They will have the opportunity to

Suggested grade level and subject area



One class period


Classroom instructions

  1. If necessary, give a quick review of one- and two-variable data analysis techniques.
  2. Ensure students know how to launch the statistical software to be used and how to import the census microdata into this software from the Statistics Canada website.
  3. Distribute the worksheet.
  4. At the end of the period, ask a few students to share highlights of their findings. Encourage the students to consider using these microdata for a major project.
  5. Collect the worksheet for evaluation.


Answers to all the questions are provided on the teacher version of the student worksheet.

Please e-mail comments or examples of how you used this exercise in your class.