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Civic Census Frequently Asked Questions

Census Collection

  1. What questions are being asked in the 2016 Civic Census?
  2. This year’s Census includes the following questions:

    • Total Number of Residents
    • Ownership
    • School Support
    • Pre-school aged children born between 2010-2016
    • Age and Gender Groupings of all Residents
    • Number of Employed
    • Mode of Transportation to Work
    • Number of cats/dogs in the household.

    10% of all households have also been selected at random for the Place of Work Survey, which asks questions related to the location of place of employment for transportation planning purposes.

  3. When is the Civic Census collected?
  4. The Civic Census is collected annually in the spring, beginning April 1.

  5. When will the next Civic Census be collected?
  6. Online census data collection for 2016 will begin April 1 and door-to-door census data collection will start late April and last approximately 3 weeks.

  7. Where do I get an access code for the Census Online?
  8. Access codes are sent to all Calgary households during the first week of April. If you did not receive one, or have misplaced it, please contact us to get a new access code.

  9. What if I get an error message on the Census Online?
  10. If you receive an error message while completing the Census Online please contact us for assistance or wait until May for door-to-door census collection.

  11. I live in a house with multiple suits. How do I complete the Census Online?
  12. The Census Online collects information for main floor suites of houses only. Other suites will have to wait for door-to-door census collection in May, or they can contact us to provide census information over the phone.

  13. What is enumeration?
  14. Enumeration is the collection of name, address and school elector status for eligible electors. Eligible elector information for the next municipal and school board general election will be collected during the 2017 Civic Census.

  15. Where can I find current Census results?
  16. For access to the most recent Census Results books, please visit our results page.

    If you are interested in historical Census information, please visit the open data catalogue or learn more about Calgary’s Geodemographics.

  17. Who can I contact for additional information?
  18. For additional information, please contact Election and Information Services at or 403-476-4100 (Option 3).

Door-to-Door Census

  1. What if someone doesn’t complete the census online between March 21 – April 10?
  2. Census takers will be going door-to-door beginning April 11 for the remaining households.

  3. What kind of impact do you expect on the regular census takers' portion (i.e. have you hired fewer census takers than previous years)?
  4. We have not made significant modifications to the number of Census Takers hired because of the uneven distribution of online uptake and the size of the City. Further analysis will be required depending on continued growth of Online Census completion.


  1. How much did it cost to create the census online?
  2. It will cost approximately $200,000 in total when project is completed. The advertising and mail out of the Census access codes is separate and will amount to approximately $50,000

  3. How much does the census normally cost?
  4. Depending on the number of questions, this varies. Normally, during a base Census, collecting data from close to half a million households costs approximately $700,000. The data collected influences how The City plans services that affect 1.2 million people and millions of dollars. These services include roads, transit, recreation and water services. It is also used by the public and separate school boards for enrolment predictions, decisions on future schools, and by the provincial government for determining per capita grant allocation where available.

  5. Are there any cost savings to going online?
  6. Maintaining current costs in check is the most important benefit. Census costs rise along with the growth of the City. We therefore expect savings in future years by being able to provide the same high quality service without the need for additional funding due to the growth of the City. As the percentage of Calgarians that complete their Census online grows, additional savings can be expected.

Release of information

  1. When is the census information released to the public?
  2. The 2016 census results will be available approximately three months after census collection has completed.

Working as a Census Taker

  1. What are the requirements to be a Census Taker?

  2. To be a Census Taker you must be:
    • 18 years of age or older.
    • Available to collect census information starting late April.
    • Able to complete online training at home and in-person in March.
    • Able to walk in seasonable weather conditions.
    • Able to operate a tablet computer (training is provided).

  3. How much do Census Takers get paid?
  4. Census Takers are paid based on the questions asked and information collected. The amount that a Census Taker can make will vary depending on the number of homes and questions they collect answers from and how many questions are in the Census that year.

  5. How do I apply to become a Census Taker?
  6. Census Taker recruitment takes place mid-January and throughout February. Applications must be submitted in-person at the Election and Information Services Office at 1103 55 Ave NE. A written assessment test must be completed at the time of application drop-off. More information about applying to be a Census Taker is available at during the application period.

Access Codes

  1. Do I need to use the access code that I received in the mail?
  2. Yes, the access code that was sent in the mail must be used to submit Census data.

  3. Why do you need an access code?
  4. The access codes help ensure that the information received is legitimate and submitted by residents of Calgary.

  5. What if someone loses or misplaces their access code?
  6. Residents can call the census office at 403-476-4100 (Option 3) between 8 am – 8 pm, Monday to Friday (except holidays) for assistance until April 10 or you can simply go on to request a new access code.

Online Census System

  1. What technology is being used for the online census?
  2. The web application has been designed using the MAF2 framework.

  3. How will census takers know which houses are remaining?
  4. After the online census closes on April 10 we will determine participation and a list of the remaining houses will be given to census takers for collection of information.

  5. If I complete my Census online, will the Census Taker still visit during door-to-door collection?
  6. For quality control purposes a small portion of households that complete their Census Online will still be visited by Census Takers. If your household is chosen to participate for this purpose, you will not be required to provide your Census data again, just to confirm completion.

  7. Is the online system secure?
  8. All information provided during this process is secure and encrypted during transmission.  Census Data is available on a city-wide basis or by geographic areas such as communities, Individuals and single dwelling are not identified.

  9. What is the benefit to going online?
  10. Census online gives citizens the convenience of completing the census at a time and location that is convenient to them. It will also help shorten the collection of door-to-door census information as there will be fewer households to visit.

  11. Why now? Some cities have done online census for five years or more?
  12. The City’s Census has actually been on line since 2013, with the introduction of tablet based collection. This is the next progression of enhancements to the system as a whole, enabling self-serve completion of the Census. The City of Calgary has developed the online Census application in house from start to finish to ensure full integration Most of the other Municipalities do not utilise their own infrastructure to conduct the Census in their jurisdictions. By doing it this way, the City of Calgary has developed a fully integrated system that works perfectly with our existing databases.