The Canadian census taken in 1901 has surprising things to say about the family as a social grouping and cultural construct at the turn of the twentieth century. Although the nuclear-family household was the most frequent type of household, family was not a singular form or structure at all; rather, it was a fluid micro-social community through which people lived and moved. There was no one "traditional" family, but rather many types of families and households, each with its own history.
In Household Counts, editors Eric W. Sager and Peter Baskerville bring together an impressive array of scholars to explore the demographic context of families in Canada using the 1901 census. Split into five sections, the collection covers such topics as family demography, urban families, the young and old, family and social history, and smaller groups as well. The remarkable plasticity of family and household that Household Counts reveals is of critical importance to our understanding of nation-building in Canada. This collection not only makes an important contribution to family history, but also to the widening intellectual exploration of historical censuses.