The 1881 Canadian Census

The 1881 Canadian census covered a number of additional provinces (compared to the 1871 census), as the number of provinces joining Confederation continued to grow. The following were included:

  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba (as it then was - quite small as compared to today)
  • the Northwest Territories (what later became Alberta, Saskatchewan, parts of Manitoba, Northern Ontario and Northern Quebec, Labrador, the Yukon, and Nunavut)
  • Ontario
  • Quebec
  • New Brunswick
  • Nova Scotia
  • Prince Edward Island

Map of Canadian provinces, 1881.
Source: Wikipedia Commons
Map of Canada, 1881

The questions on the 1881 census were to be answered as of April 4, 1881, no matter what date the enumeration actually occurred. Everyone who normally resided in the household as of that date was to be included, regardless of whether they actually spent the night there.





The questions asked on the 1881 census were identical to those on the 1871 census. They were as follows:

  • Dwellings
    • vessels
    • shanties
    • dwelling homes in construction
    • dwelling homes uninhabited
    • dwelling homes inhabited
  • Families, in order of enumeration
  • Names
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Born within last 12 months
  • Country or province of birth
  • religion
  • origin (ethnic)
  • Profession, occupation, or trade
  • Married or widowed
  • married within last 12 months
  • Instruction
    • going to school
    • over 20, unable to read
    • over 20, unable to write

  • Infirmities
    • deaf and dumb
    • blind
    • unsound mind

  • Dates of Operations and Remarks






Go from "1881 Canadian Census" to "The Canadian Census: an Introduction"

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For details of the various census documents, see the pages for the Canadian census and the applicable year, as indicated below.

1851 Canadian census

1861 Canadian census

1871 Canadian census

1881 Canadian census

1891 Canadian census

1901 Canadian census

1906 Canadian census

1911 Canadian census

1916 Canadian census



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