Earlier this week, Statistics Canada released data from the 2021 federal census that included information on the gender make-up of the federal, provincial, and municipal populations.
Notably, this is the first federal census to include demographic information on transgender and non-binary individuals. In fact, Canada is the first country to ever provide this data.
So, naturally, I decided to go through the data to see what the data looks like in Alberta.
|Trans people||Non-binary people|
Naturally, Calgary and Edmonton have the largest populations in general, so it makes sense they’d also see that largest populations of trans and non-binary people.
But something interesting emerges when you look at the rate of trans and non-binary people relative to the general population.
Even though Calgary and Edmonton have the largest populations of trans and non-binary people among the 4 largest cities in the province, Lethbridge has a higher rate of both populations.
In fact, Lethbridge was the only Alberta city to make the top 10 Canadian cities with the highest percentage of trans and non-binary people.
|Trans & non-binary|
|St. John’s, NL||4.43||2.65||1.78|
Not only that, but Lethbridge is the only city in the 3 Prairie provinces to make the top 10 list.
By comparison, Edmonton placed 12th, Red Deer placed 22nd, and Calgary placed 23rd.
As far as the provinces go, Alberta has the third highest proportion of trans and non-binary people.
|Trans & non-binary|
Now, there are some disclaimers for this data.
First, the federal census form never asked if people identified as trans or non-binary. Here are the two questions found in the form:
The first related question the census asks is What was this person’s sex at birth?, and it provides only two options: male and female.
The other question it asks is What is this person’s gender?, and it allows you to pick male or female or to specify something else.
That’s it. The fact that the data claims there are a certain number of trans and people yet never asks people to indicate that they’re trans means they’re extrapolating that data.
Second, non-binary people may also be transgender. After all, transgender literally means across, beyond, or through gender. And people who are non-binary in their gender are across, beyond, or through the gender binary of male and female.
Third, the data collected was dependent on the person filling out the form accurately identifying everyone’s gender in the household.
If that person was a parent, for example, and they have a trans 16-year-old child who has yet to come out, then they will probably have indicated the same option for both the sex and gender questions, and that teen would be counted as being cisgender.
As such, we should be mindful of how we cite this data and realize that it may not be as accurate for trans and non-binary people as it is for cis people.