Data on Racialized Populations

About this guide

This guide consists of a curated list of datasets that include ethnicity and race variables which can be used to facilitate anti-racism research in Canada. Although not comprehensive, the intention is to provide a starting point for researchers investigating topics about anti-racism and the impact of racism.

Census of Canada Variable Definition Timeline

In this guide, variables related to ethnic origins, race, culture, or where a respondent is born, are listed. Also included are links to variable column definitions, individual census records (for historical censuses), publications with tables, and data files.

Additional censuses include the 1870 Census of Manitoba, 1906 Census of the Northwest Provinces, and the Census of the Prairie Provinces for 1916, 1926, 1936, and 1946.

Note about terminology

Due to the historical nature of some of the data sources in this guide, terminology necessary for searching may include language that is problematic and/or offensive to contemporary users.  Specifically, vocabulary used to refer to racial, ethnic, religious and cultural groups is specific to the time period when the data was collected and does not reflect the attitudes and viewpoints of contemporary society.

About Us

This guide was created by Kevin Manuel (Toronto Metropolitan University), Alexandra Cooper (Queen’s University), Rosa Orlandini (York University), and Moira Davidson (Lakehead University).

If there is a data source that you would like to suggest for this guide, please email with the subject line, Suggestion for Racialized Data Guide.