‘Ottawa’ Why Statistics Canada Gives Ottawa’s Population as Three (very different) Numbers
Statistics Canada has three different population figures in the 2016 census because there are three different versions of what this city is.
The result has been confusion over how many people live in Ottawa. The three officials versions of where we live are as follows:
• “Census metropolitan area” of Ottawa-Gatineau, population 1,323,783;
• “Population centre,” namely the part of Ottawa-Gatineau that is in Ontario, population 735,706;
• “City,” population 934,243. That’s the figure used at city hall. The Citizen used this figure in Thursday’s paper.
The census metropolitan area (CMA) is widely used, but it’s a very large region that takes in Kemptville, Rockland, Pontiac, Val-des-Monts and Val-des-Bois.
But even StatCan had to look up the difference between the other two when we asked on Thursday. It turns out Ottawa the “city” takes in the exact municipal boundaries, while Ottawa the “population centre” excludes the 117,304 people in Kanata, which is listed separately from Ottawa. It also excludes rural areas within the city boundaries, including Richmond and Osgoode.
The data sheet for population centres doesn’t alert readers that there is also a listing for cities, and vice versa.