Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dissemination Block-Level Data


Can someone please help clarify access to dissemination block level data for the 2006 Census?

I know we have access through GeoSuite (and Geosearch) to population and dwelling counts at the DB level; however, I have a researcher who is looking for characteristic (profile) data at the DB level. I know through DLI we only get profile files down to DA.

The following STC page ( explains that only population and dwelling counts are disseminated at the DB level.

I am assuming DB data exists though and can be requested; however, would this constitute a custom tab or an RDC request? Does it depend on whether it’s used for analytical vs. descriptive services.

Thanks in advance for any help.


You are correct, the dissemination area (DA) is the lowest level of geography for which census data are available through the DLI.

Dissemination block level data can however be requested on a custom basis for a fee. Based on previous inquiries about data at the block level, it is my understanding that areas of interest need to have a minimum population of 100 when no income data are requested and a minimum population threshold of 250 for data with income characteristics. Other confidentiality and suppression rules may also apply. I would be happy to refer you to an Account Executive who can provide additional information about this type of custom product and confirm if the specific data your researcher needs are available and at what cost if he/she is interested in custom 2006 Census products.

With regards to the availability of block level data through the RDCs, I have asked our census contacts to confirm if one could use the the 2006 Census microdata file (RDC) to access data at this level and will send you additional information about this as soon as I receive their answer. I couldn't find a block level geography variable in the codebook for the 2006 Census RDC file but have asked our Census contacts to advise and confirm. For your reference, a copy of this codebook is available at: The RDC application process and guidelines are described at:

Additional Information

I have received confirmation that the 2006 Census microdata file that is available through the RDCs only goes down to the Census Tract level. Block level data would therefore only be available on a custom basis. If your client wishes to look into this option, I will refer you to an Account-Executive in the Toronto regional office.

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