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This publication is based on data from the 2009 Survey of Household Spending. Data were collected by personal interviews conducted from January to March 2010 from a sample of more than 16,700 private households in all provinces and territories. The survey gathered detailed information on spending patterns, dwelling characteristics, and household equipment in 2009.

This 2009 edition of the publication "Spending Patterns in Canada" is downloadable from the Statistics Canada website ( in either electronic HTML format, or in printable PDF format.

"Spending Patterns in Canada" contains summary level spending data, household equipment, and housing conditions for Canada, the provinces and territories as well as selected metropolitan areas. Detailed spending data by geography, income, household type, and tenure can be ordered from Statistics Canada for a fee. For ordering information, see the section "Related products" of this publication.

Since 1999, the SHS has included households in the northern territories in every odd numbered year. The Canada level averages for 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009 represent data for the ten provinces and the territories. The 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 data for Canada include the ten provinces only.

The average spending for a category is calculated for all households, including those with and those without expenditures for the category. Average spending also includes sales taxes.

The expenditures in this release are not adjusted for inflation. The rate of inflation for selected items is mentioned in the analysis section when it affects the analysis of year-to-year changes in spending.

Where data is analyzed by income level, households are divided into five groups or quintiles based on income. Each quintile represents one-fifth of all households. They are created by ranking households in ascending order of total household income, and organizing them into five groups of equal number. Households in the lowest income group are from the lowest quintile, and have 1.5 members on average, less than half the size of households in the highest income quintile, which average 3.4 members in 2009.

Due to introduction of the new electronic CAPI questionnaire for the 2006 survey, changes were made to the data processing and quality control steps. Automatic edits built into the electronic questionnaire replaced the balanced edit and regional office editing performed in previous years. Since reference year 2007, balance edit checks were re-instated.

To streamline and simplify data collection, important changes in the methodology were introduced in 2006. The reference date for household composition, tenure, dwelling characteristics and household equipments are as of the time of the interview instead of December 31st of the reference year. Spending data were collected on a full-year basis for every household member at the time of the interview, including those who joined the household in 2009 or 2010 regardless whether the previous household existed or the person was living alone. As a result, an important difference between the 2006 to 2009 SHS and previous SHS methodology is the elimination of the distinction between "part-year" and "full-year" members and households.

Since the data prior to 2006 were based on full-year households only, in order to maintain comparability, data for the years 1997 to 2005 were revised to include both full-year and part-year households.

Screening questions that were added in 2007 had important effects on responses for that year only that users should be aware of. See "Data Quality" section of the publication for more information.

The sample size for the 2008 and 2009 surveys were smaller than in preceding years. The reduction of the sample size compared with previous years has an impact on the data quality; in particular the variance of many expenses is higher than before. The sample was reduced to free up resources to develop the Survey of Household Spending Redesign which will replace the existing survey design in 2010.

Users should note that, as in 2008, the data for the metropolitan areas of Québec City, Ottawa and Victoria were suppressed in 2009.

For more details, see the Data quality, concepts and methodology — Definitions section of this publication, or consult the Survey of Household Spending User Guide, available for free on the Statistics Canada website.