PRIZM® is the latest release of our pioneering segmentation system that classifies Canada’s neighbourhoods into 67 unique lifestyle types that capture current demographics, lifestyles, consumer behaviour and settlement patterns. Continuing with methodology that integrates geographic, demographic and psychographic data, PRIZM® incorporates the latest authoritative data from nearly a dozen demographic, marketing and media sources to help you better analyze and understand your customers and markets.

From marketing strategies and site decisions to merchandising, mobile analytics and media planning, PRIZM® powers decision-making. Businesses, not-for-profits and government agencies all use PRIZM® to analyze and engage their customers and markets at the neighbourhood level anywhere in Canada.

Summary and Description

Below is a summary video (11:22) that covers product details, sources, methodology, applications and key questions about this product. This video will provide you with an overview and give you some ideas on its application.

Data Review and How-to-Use

A detailed data review video (19:28) is presented below. This video covers:

  • All PRIZM® folders and files provided with the data delivery
  • Review of the data table layouts and structures
    • GeoProfile files (3:01)
    • License files
      • Unique License file (4:34)
      • Rural Enhancement License file (8:26)
  • How to append Postal Codes to the PRIZM® codes (10:45)
  • Review of Geographic Hierarchy file (16:00)

Following these videos, there are some key PRIZM® and Demographic definitions, along with additional resources linked for your reference: release notes, variable lists, metadata, and other information.

PRIZM® Definitions

Socioeconomic Status Indicator (SESI): The individual segment numbers are based on SESI, a composite score that reflects a variety of factors, such as average household income, discretionary income, educational attainment, the value of private dwellings, average net worth and household size. The 67 segments have been ranked from one to 67 on the SESI scale, with one classified as the highest. Because this ranking reflects more than income alone, most of the segments have a SESI score that is different from their average household income ranking.

Social Groups: Each of the 67 segments are organized into one of 20 Social Groups based on the urban-rural context, home language (English, French and non-official), affluence, family status, age of maintainer and ethnicity. Social Groups represent various groupings, patterns and trends. Each segment is also assigned to one of five settlement types: Urban, Urban Fringe, Suburban, Town or Rural.

  • Urban segments are found in large- and medium-sized cities
  • Urban Fringe segments reflect once suburban areas that, over the last 30 years, have been absorbed by urban sprawl
  • Suburban segments tend to consist of communities located on the outskirts of cities and can often be found in the core neighbourhoods of smaller cities and larger towns
  • Town segments are found in smaller towns across the country
  • Rural segments reflect areas that are smaller than towns and include very small towns, villages, hamlets, and rural farms and isolated areas

The ranking of Social Groups is based on average income (not a SESI ranking). Groups have a letter and number combination. The letters U, F, S, T and R stand for Urban, UrbanFringe, Suburban, Town and Rural, while the numbers refer to income, with one indicating the highest average income for the group and seven representing the lowest.

Lifestage Groups: The 67 segments are categorized into 8 Lifestage Groups based on the presence of singles, couples and families. The grouping divides the 67 segments into Young, Family and Mature classifications, and then further subdivides them by analyzing the commonality amongst them.

  • The Young group is divided into three subgroups according to the presence of singles, couples or starter families
  • Families are split into three sets based on the age of children: the very young, tweens, teens and twenty-somethings
  • The Mature group is divided into two based on the age of maintainers and the presence of children at home

Segments 68, 69, 70: In addition to the 67 PRIZM segments, the License and GeoProfiles files include classifications and counts of households for segments 68-70. These additional segments are defined as:

  • Segment 68 defines residential postal codes that were not part of the geography roster for the year of update and therefore were not assigned a PRIZM segment code. These unclassified postal codes are typically new postal codes that were added to the geography roster after the update period for that year and will likely be assigned to one of the 67 PRIZM segments in the following year. The geography roster also includes postal codes that are considered collectives that are also defined as segment 68. These may include institutions such as rooming houses, nursing homes, hospitals, staff residences, military bases, work camps, correctional facilities, and group homes where people live temporarily but not in their dwelling of usual residence.
  • Segment 69 (All Geography) is the sum of segments 01-68. In other words, a count of all households or household population including the unclassified segment (segment 68).
  • Segment 70 (All Clustered) is the sum of segments 01-67. In other words, a count of all households or household population not including the unclassified segment (segment 68).

Demographic Definitions

Age: Refers to the age of an individual. The age categories range from youngest to oldest in the following order: Young (relatively significant presence of those in their 20s and 30s), Younger (30s and 40s), Middle-Aged (40s and 50s), Older (50s and 60s) and Mature (70s and older).

Housing Tenure: Specifies whether a household owns or rents the dwelling, and whether the dwelling is Band Housing (on an Indian Reserve or Settlement). Tenure categories are Homeowners, Renters, and Band Housing.

Education: Refers to the highest level of school attended for people 15 years of age and older. Education categories are Grade 9, High School, Trade, College, and University.

Job Type: Refers to the occupation of people 15 years of age and older who were employed in the week prior to the Census. The categories are White Collar, Service Sector, Blue Collar and Primary.

Cultural Diversity Index: Based on a combination of immigration, language spoken at home and visible minority status.

Official Language: Based on a person’s knowledge of or ability to speak English, French, both or neither language.

How-to-Read ENVISION Reports


Additional Resources

Our PRIZM® product is provided at two levels of geography: FSALDU (postal code) and Dissemination Area (DA).




Along with the release notes, you will see reference to the following:

GeoProfiles: Provides counts of households for each PRIZM® segment within specific standard geographies.

License files: Provides the look-up between the combination of FSALDU and community name (Rural Enhanced) as well as the FSALDU (Unique); these files will allow you to assign the correct PRIZM® code to your corresponding customer lists.
Note: If you also license ENVISION, our software will do this coding for you.

Variables List and Metadata: Provides definitions of each of the variables in the corresponding datasets.

Technical Document: Provides additional detail around how PRIZM® is developed.