Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Census consolidated subdivision (CCS)

Release date: November 16, 2016


A census consolidated subdivision (CCS) is a group of adjacent census subdivisions within the same census division. Generally, the smaller, more densely-populated census subdivisions (towns, villages, etc.) are combined with the surrounding, larger, more rural census subdivision, in order to create a geographic level between the census subdivision and the census division.

Reported in

2016, 2011, 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1976, 1971, 1966


Census consolidated subdivisions are defined within census divisions (CDs) according to the following criteria:

  1. A census subdivision (CSD) with a land area greater than 25 square kilometres can form a CCS of its own. Census subdivisions having a land area smaller than 25 square kilometres are usually grouped with a larger census subdivision.
  2. A census subdivision with a land area greater than 25 square kilometres and surrounded on more than half its perimeter by another census subdivision is usually included as part of the CCS formed by the surrounding census subdivision.
  3. A census subdivision with a population greater than 100,000 according to the last census usually forms a CCS on its own.
  4. The census consolidated subdivision's name and code usually coincide with its largest census subdivision component in terms of land area.
  5. A CCS with fewer than 16 farms in the last census is merged with adjacent CCS(s) to help reduce data suppression while maintaining the confidentiality of the data for these smaller CCSs.

The final criterion is new for 2016. As a result of this new criterion, a significant number of CCSs were merged resulting in over 570 fewer CCSs in 2016.

The geographic code assigned to each census consolidated subdivision is the seven-digit Standard Geographical Classification (SGC) code of one of its component CSDs, usually the one with the largest land area (Figure 1.5 shows a hypothetical example). This assignment process also makes the CCS code unique across Canada. For example:

Table summary
This table displays two examples. The information is grouped by province/territoire-census division-census consolidated subdivision code (appearing as row headers), census consolidated subdivision name (appearing as column headers).
PR-CD-CCS code   CCS name
24 32 045 Plessisville (Que.)
35 32 045 Blandford-Blenheim (Ont.)

Figure 1.5
Example of census consolidated subdivisions (CCSs) and census subdivisions (CSDs)

Figure 1.5 Example of census consolidated subdivisions (CCSs) and census subdivisions (CSDs)

Description of Figure 1.5

Figure 1.5 is a fictional grouping of nine census subdivisions (CSDs), shown as polygons labelled with fictional CSD identifiers (a two-digit census division code followed by a space and a three-digit census subdivision code).Note 1 Each CSD is outlined in a thin black line. The nine CSDs are grouped into four census consolidated subdivisions (CCSs), which are outlined in a thick grey line.

The CCS in the top left quadrant of polygons is comprised of three CSDs labelled '01 008,' '01 009,' and '01 011.' Since a CCS gets its name and code from the largest CSD in its grouping, this CCS is labelled '01 008.' The CCS in the top right quadrant is comprised of only one CSD and, therefore, shares the CSD code (01 013). The CCS in the bottom left quadrant of polygons is comprised of two CSDs labelled '01 005' and '01 006.' This CCS is labelled '01 006.' The fourth and final CCS, which is labelled '01 002' in the bottom right quadrant, is comprised of three CSDs labelled '01 001,' '01 002,' and '01 003.'

A legend appears at the bottom left of the figure and identifies the symbols used in the figure for representing the CCS and CSD boundaries and labels.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population.

Table 1.1 shows the number of census consolidated subdivisions by province and territory.

CCSs are used primarily for disseminating Census of Agriculture data. CCSs are relatively stable geographic areas because they have infrequent boundary changes and therefore can be useful for longitudinal analysis.

Refer to the related definitions of census division (CD), census subdivision (CSD) and Standard Geographical Classification (SGC).

Changes prior to the current census

For 1991, significant boundary changes were made to CCSs in Quebec when census divisions were restructured to recognize the municipalités régionales de comté.

For 1976, the term 'census consolidated subdivision' was introduced. Prior to 1976, CCSs were referred to by the term 'reference code.'

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