Frequently Asked Questions

In this section we will be providing answers to some of our most Frequently Asked Questions. As we receive new inquiries, we will be updating this section.

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Getting Started

1. What is a Geographic View? (click to view/hide answer)
A View refers to a set of geographic regions with a common interest.  For example, the Health View displays data by Community Health Board (CHB) and District Health Authority regions, while the Electoral View displays data by Provincial Electoral District and Federal Electoral District regions.

For example, someone who works in the Health field and who is looking for data to help with planning for their CHB may want to analyze data by CHB, rather than by Municipality.

County and Community level data can be displayed no matter which of the four views you select, as they are common to all four views.

The Other view refers to geographic levels of interest which could represent subsections of the province and do not necessarily cover the province as a whole. For example: The Municipal Polling Districts (MPD) represent those located within the Halifax Regional Municipality.
2. How many Geographic Views are on Community Counts? (click to view/hide answer)
There are six geographic views on Community Counts:
  • Economic
  • Electoral
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Municipal
  • Area Specific (Municipal Electoral District, School Board, Watershed)
3. What is a level of Geography? (click to view/hide answer)
A level of Geography is a set of regions that break the province down into smaller pieces. For example, there are 18 counties in Nova Scotia – County is a level of geography.  Another level of geography is Community Health Boards - there are 37 boards that make up the province.
4. How many levels of Geography are there on Community Counts? (click to view/hide answer)
There are 16 levels of geography on Community Counts:
  • Canada
  • Community
  • Community Health Board
  • County
  • District Health Authority
  • Economic Region
  • Federal Electoral District
  • Justice Centre
  • Justice Police District
  • Municipal Electoral District
  • Municipality
  • Provincial
  • Provincial Electoral District
  • Regional Development Authority
  • School Board
  • Watershed
5. What is a Subject? (click to view/hide answer)
A Subject is a grouping of data of similar type.  There are a total of 10 subjects on Community Counts, to date 8 of them have been developed with data.  The 10 subjects on Community Counts are:
  • Demographics
  • Income
  • Education
  • Households
  • Labour
  • Social
  • Health
  • Resources*
  • Environment*
  • Production

*indicates that subject is to be developed


6. How do I find data for a particular level of geography? (click to view/hide answer)
From the main menu on the left side of the page, click on ‘Browse Data by

First of all, you must select a Geographic View (see questions 1 and 2 for more information on geographic views).  For example, if you are looking for data on a municipality, choose the Municipal View.

You will then see a list of the levels of geography available for that particular view – select Municipality (see questions 3 and 4 for more information on levels of geography).

You can either click the municipality you are looking for on the map, or highlight it in the list and click ‘Go’.

You can now browse data for the selected municipality by using the Subject tabs (ie. Demographic, Income, Education, etc), and open datasets by clicking the table names.
7. How do I find my community? (click to view/hide answer)
The easiest way to find a community is to use the Community Finder.  Once you click ‘Community Finder’ in the main menu, there are three ways to find your community:
  1. By listing all communities in a particular county and selecting from the list (County can be selected from list, or by clicking on map).

  2. By listing them in alphabetical order and selecting from the list.

  3. By typing the community name (or at least the first few letters) in the search box and selecting from the list.

  4. You will then be presented with all of the levels of geography that your community is within.  Click a level of geography, and begin browsing data tables.

You can also find a particular community by browsing data using ‘by Geography’ (from the main menu).  Click on ’community’ in the Geography Level menu. and find your community in the Select Geography list.
8. What ways can I browse data? (click to view/hide answer)
There are 4 ways to browse data on Community Counts:
  • by Geography (described in question 6)
  • by Topic
  • by Community Profile (described in question 14)
  • by Economic Profile (described in question 16)
Browsing data by Topic allows you to view a dataset for a complete level of geography across the province.  For example, if you wanted to compare data for all communities across Nova Scotia:
  • Click browse data ‘by Topic’ (from the main menu sidebar)
  • Select a Subject (e.g. Demographics)
  • Select a data table (e.g. Population by Selected Age Groups)
  • Select a level of Geography (e.g. Communities)
  • The table will show population counts for all 286 Communities across Nova Scotia


9. Why are some data tables not available for certain levels of geography? (click to view/hide answer)
Not every data table within Community Counts is available for every level of geography.  The data within Community Counts comes from various sources, with various methods of data collection.  Some datasets are simply not collected, or are not available for lower levels of geography.

Here are some examples of data and the geographic levels they are available for on Community Counts:
  • National Household Survey data: available at all levels of Geography
  • Census data: available at all levels of Geography
  • Taxfiler data: available at County level and Provincial levels
  • Population Estimates and Projections: available at County level and higher
  • Canadian Community Health Survey: available for Nova Scotia and District Health Authorities
10. Where can I find additional information on the data table, such as variable definitions? (click to view/hide answer)
If you are looking for additional information or definitions of the variables for a particular data table, please see the Help tab.  This section is used to point you to any additional information we have on the selected data table.  You will find links to user guides, definitions, and any additional information that may be available.
11. How do I find population projections for the future? (click to view/hide answer)
From the Community Counts home page, choose from the main menu ‘Browse Data by Subject’. You will now be in the Demographics subject of Community Counts. Scroll down and look for the heading Population on the left-hand side. Select Population Projections under that heading. You are now viewing population projections by 5 year age groups to 2036 at the provincial level.

You may also view the data by Gender and Type (numbers or percentages). See the heading Display Data By above the table. To view the data by gender, select male or female from the Gender drop-down menu.

To view the data by percentages rather than numbers, select percentages from the Type drop-down menu.

To view the population projections by county, choose the County level of geography from the tabs above the table. On the next screen, select a county from the menu and click on the Go button below it or click your selection on the map. You are now viewing the projections for the county selected. See the heading above the table Display Data By for the choice of Gender and Type (as above).

You may also view the population projections in graph form. Return to the Demographics subject heading by scrolling up from the most recent view and finding four tabs on the right-hand side. Choose Select a New Table. In the Demographics subject, look on the right hand side under the heading Analysis Tools. As you scroll down you will see the Graphs heading and Population Projections under it. Click on the link. You are now viewing a bar chart showing population projections by age groups for the census years 1986 to 2031. You can select either the county level or provincial level projections from the tabs above the graph.
12. How do I export a table to Excel? (click to view/hide answer)
You can export the data table that you are viewing to Excel by clicking the ‘Export to Excel’ button located above the table.  Once you click the button, you will be given the option to ‘open’ or ‘save’ the table.  To do any manipulation to the table or data, you would want to save the table to your computer.  If you just want to view the data in a table format, click ‘open’.
13. How do I print a data table? (click to view/hide answer)
Printer-friendly versions of data tables are available by clicking the ‘printer’ buttons at the top section of the page.
14. Can you compare 2011 NHS data to 2006 Census data? (click to view/hide answer)

The content of the NHS is similar to that of the 2006 Census long questionnaire. However, a number of changes were made to some questions and sections of the questionnaire. For example, the NHS measures a new component of income (capital gains or losses) and child care and support expenses; the questions used to measure Aboriginal identity were altered slightly; and the universe for determining generational status was expanded to include the entire population, not just the population aged 15 and over. In addition, the unpaid work section was not asked in the 2011 NHS.

Any significant change in survey method or content can affect the comparability of the data over time, and that applies to the NHSas well. It is impossible to determine with certainty whether, and to what extent, differences in a variable are attributable to an actual change or to non-response bias. Consequently, at every stage of processing, verification and dissemination, considerable effort was made to produce data that are as precise in their level of detail, and to ensure that the NHS's published estimates are of good quality in keeping with Statistics Canada standards.

Caution must be exercised when NHS estimates are compared with estimates produced from the 2006 Census long form, especially when the analysis involves small geographies. Users are asked to use the NHS's main quality indicator, the global non-response rate (see Section 6.3), in assessing the quality of the NHS estimates and determining the extent to which the estimates can be compared with the estimates from the 2006 Census long form. Users are also asked to read any quality notes that may be included in dissemination products.
15. Discrepancies between 2011 Census and NHS estimates (click to view/hide answer)
The final weights for NHS estimates are selected to reduce or eliminate differences between the 2011 Census population counts and the NHS estimates. However, some discrepancies may persist between the NHS estimates and the census counts for small municipalities. The discrepancy between the population counts and the sample estimates is the difference between the NHS estimate and the 2011 Census count divided by the 2011 Census count.


16. What is a Community Profile? (click to view/hide answer)
A Community Profile summarizes tabular data using text and graphs to generate an easy to understand snapshot of your community.  Community Profiles are available for 5 subject areas including Demographics, Income, Education, Households, and Labour.  Community Profiles are found in the ‘Browse Data’ section of the main menu on the left side of the page. You must select a level of geography (see question 6 for more details on how to select a level of geography).
17. How do I print my Community Profile? (click to view/hide answer)
Printer-friendly versions of Community Profiles are available by using the button at the top of the page.
18. What is an Economic Region Profile? (click to view/hide answer)
An Economic Region Profile summarizes tabular data using text and graphs to generate an easy to understand snapshot of your economic region.  This profile contains information in relation to the economic region's Population and Economy areas of interest. Economic Region Profiles are found in the ‘Browse Data’ section of the main menu on the left side of the page. You must select a level of geography (see question 6 for more details on how to select a level of geography).
19. How do I print my Economic Region Profile? (click to view/hide answer)
Printer-friendly versions of Economic Region Profiles are available by using the button at the top of the page.
20.  Where can I find Thematic Maps on Community Counts? (click to view/hide answer)
Thematic maps are located within the Map Centre. The map centre can be accessed in the menu to the left. Click on the Map Centre link in the menu located on the left hand side of the page.
21. How was the Selected Socio-Economic Statistics (SES) map created? How do I interpret the map? (click to view/hide answer)
The Socio-Economic Status (SES) map was created by mapping three variables for all communities – median income, educational attainment (Grade 12), and employment rate, and can be found in within the Social section in our ‘Map Centre’ section.. For each of the three variables, communities were ranked by quintiles (communities divided into five equal proportions). Ratings for each variable were established as follows. Communities in the 1st (top) quintile rated +2, in the 2nd quintile from the top rated +1, in the 3rd (middle) quintile  rated 0, in the 4th quintile rated -1, in the 5th (bottom) quintile rated -2. Ratings for the three variables for each community were added up. The maximum rating was +6 and the minimum rating was -6. On the SES map, the dark green communities rated +4 to +6, with the highest socio-economic status. The lighter shades of green are for communities with a rating of +1 to +3. Communities shaded yellow have a rating of 0, placing them in the middle of the rating scale. The lighter shades of red are for communities with a rating of -1 to -3. The communities with the darkest red are rated - 4 to - 6, meaning they have the lowest socio-economic rating of all communities. These communities are likely to have populations with the greatest needs for services and resources.

About Communities

22. Why can't I find my community? (click to view/hide answer)
If your community does not appear to be included as one of our 276 communities, it has been combined into a larger neighbouring community.  The populations of some communities are too small for detailed data to be available; often several communities have been combined to minimize data suppression.

In order to determine which community your area has been combined with, please use the ‘Search’ box in the Community Finder (for details on the Community Finder tool, see question 7).

23. What areas does my community include? (click to view/hide answer)
If you are browsing a data table for a particular community and are wondering exactly what area it includes, you can click the link just below the title of the table that says ‘Click here to view the list of place names that are included in this Community’.  You will then see a list of the smaller areas that make up the community.  (For more information on community boundaries, see question 20.)
24. How were the community boundaries defined?(click to view/hide answer)
Community Counts staff defined most of the communities that are used within our system.  The exception is First Nations communities, whose boundaries are defined by the federal government. Several guidelines were used in developing the boundaries for our 286 communities. 

  • Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations has created regions called General Service Areas (GSAs), which divide all of Nova Scotia into small areas, following natural clusters of population.  Community Counts used these areas as building blocks for our community boundaries.
  • " In order to minimize data suppression, communities have a population of 500 or greater (with the exception of populated Native Reserves). On average, a community encompasses 6-10 GSAs. In a few instances, the GSAs are divided or other geographic boundaries are used (i.e. Provincial Electoral Districts).
  • The dominant or major place name within the group of communities is used as the main community name.
  • " The most recent changes to our community boundaries were made as result of a boundary review in the summer of 2007.

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