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Statistics Canada's Terms and Definitions

Aboriginal identity:

Aboriginal identity refers to those persons who reported identifying themselves with at least one Aboriginal group – i.e., North American Indian, Métis or Inuit (Eskimo) – and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or who were members of an Indian Band or First Nation.

Divorce rate:

Divorce rate refers to the proportion of marriages that are expected to end in divorce by the 30th wedding anniversary.

Family structure:

Statistics Canada classifies families as: married couples, with or without children of either or both spouses; common-law couples, with or without children of either or both partners; and, lone-parent families by gender of the parent.

  • A couple living common-law may be of the same sex or opposite sexes.

  • Children in a Census family may include grandchildren living with a grandparent(s) but with no parent(s) present.

  • Fertility rates are a measure of the average number of children that women will bear in their lifetime.

  • Total fertility rates are an estimate of the average number of children that women aged 15 to 49 will have in their lifetime.

  • Age-specific fertility is a ratio of the number of births occurring in a given age group, in relation to the number of females of a given age per 1,000.

Life expectancy:

Life expectancy is the number of years a person would be expected to live, starting at birth (for life expectancy at birth), or from age 65 (for life expectancy at age 65).

Visible Minorities:

The 2001 Census provides information on the characteristics of people in Canada who are members of a visible minority, as defined by the Employment Equity Act. The Act defines visible minorities as “persons, other than Aboriginal peoples, who are non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour.”

Under this definition, regulations specify the following groups as visible minorities: Chinese, South Asians, Blacks, Arabs, West Asians, Filipinos, Southeast Asians, Latin Americans, Japanese, Koreans and other visible minority groups, such as Pacific Islanders.

Visible minority not included elsewhere: This category includes respondents who reported a single write-in response indicating a Pacific Islander group (e.g., Fijian or Polynesian) or another single write-in response likely to be a visible minority group (e.g., Guyanese, West Indian).

Multiple visible minorities: This category includes respondents who reported belonging to more than one visible minority group.

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