Finding the Work Force in the 1901 Census of Canada


  • Peter Baskerville
  • Eric Sager


The authors assess the strengths and weaknesses of data relating to the work force recorded in the columns of the 1901 Canadian Census Population Schedules. A comparison of the Canadian data to the information found in British and American censuses of the same era suggests that Canadian census-takers made a more focused effort to uncover information about the work force than did their counterparts. Although the investigation lends sorne support to the perspective that censuses are problematic documents constructed in the interests of a male-dominated political and economic elite, it also suggests that the working class shared in the construction of the data. Carefully used, the 1901 census allows historians to recover voices rarely heard in their own time.






Research Note