Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016
Major source of income

Release date: May 3, 2017 Updated on: September 13, 2017


The income source, or group of sources, that makes up the largest proportion of an individual's total income during the reference period.

For the 2016 Census, the reference period is the calendar year 2015 for all income variables.

Statistical unit(s)



Not applicable

Reported in

2016 (100% data); 2011Note 1 (30% sample); 2006, 2001, 1996, 1991, 1986 and 1981 (20% sample).

For availability prior to 1981, refer to Appendix 2.0.

Reported for

Population aged 15 years and over in private households

Question number(s)

Derived variable


Not applicable


Various combinations of income sources can be used to derive this classification. For example, income sources can be combined into five components: wages, salaries and commissions, net self-employment income (farm and non-farm), government transfers, investment income and other income. The absolute values for these components are compared and the largest one is designated as the major source of income.

See income sources. For more information, please refer to Appendix 4.1, Components of income in 2015.

For additional information about data collection method, coverage, reference period, concepts, data quality and intercensal comparability of the income data, refer to the Income Reference Guide, Census of Population, 2016.


Date modified: