Accessing E-STAT Recent Census Data on line

This guide is to provide for student or teacher use of E-STATdata within ArcView GIS in Nova Scotia schools. The original materials were produced by Carol Ann Organ and Doug Begg for a PD session in Strait Regional School Board. Full credit goes to them for simplifying the process for all of us.

Step 1 Getting the data from E-STAT

A. Go to E-STAT at (

B. Click on language of your choice-English or Franšais 

C. Select Learning Resources, the second button on the left side navigation bar.

D. Choose the link -STAT at the bottom of the page. E-STAT is free for Canadian educational institutions, and contains current and historical data on over 700,000 business and socio-economic subjects. Transform these into colourful maps and graphs!

E. This takes you to the Welcome to E-STAT page. Read the license and at the bottom of the page click Accept.

F. If requested to do so, log in and you should see the screen shown here, with blue arrows.

G. Click on your topic of interest, such as under the People Category , the Population and Demography theme

Now scroll down on the next screen as shown below 

and then select the DATA link on the bottom right.


On the next screen under Census databases,  click on Age Groups

 Then on the next screen, choose Age and Sex, Marital---- (1996 Census of Population, Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities) ... as seen below.

You are getting closer as you have now narrowed down the theme group to a manageable amount of information. Yet we still need to focus on what aspects of this group we need data about. So, as seen below, you select the census area for the data under Geography, click on the down arrow to get the list of geographic areas or census tract that are of interest.

It is critical if you plan to use the data in ArcView that you ALWAYS select census divisions so you can match your downloaded file's EStat codes to the 96cd.shp file.

If you wish to use Provincial level data only, then download the updated file as it contains province tables with two, four and seven digit EStat codes to allow table joins at the provincial level.  Without this file, you can not match tables which are created by EStat for provincial level data vs. the normal Census Divisions.

Next select the fields of information you want in the second box on the screen. Each field will be a column in ArcView. To select more than one use the Control key (or command key on a Macintosh computer) and click on each line of information you want. OR You can click on the details button.


If you select the details option, then it will allow you to check off the fields of data for each record that you will have in your ArcView table....eventually ! You have only one more step to go, so hang in there !



The last step is to download the data as shown below

Note: Before you choose to Download it to a file as a dBase file make sure the census areas are selected correctly.


Remember: where you saved it....what it is named and you are ready to use it in ArcView. You may wish to create a separate folder for data by area such as a "CB" folder for Cape Breton data, then name it to an easy reminder such as "cb_agegroups.dbf"

It is important that the census codes of your data matches the census codes of the shape (*.shp) file you use in ArcView for the data to be used. If you wish to modify the data you can open the .dbf file you have downloaded in any spreadsheet program, make the changes and save it again. Make sure it is saved as a .dbf file.

Now follow us for the ArcView part !