Population centre, in Canadian census data, is a populated place, or a cluster of interrelated populated places, which meets the demographic characteristics of an urban area, having a population of at least 1,000 people and a population density of no fewer than 400 persons per square km2.
A population centre does not necessarily correspond to the boundaries of a municipality, a census division or a metropolitan area, but solely to a band of census dissemination blocks that meets the statistical definition of an urban area. A less densely populated or unpopulated area within a city's municipal boundaries may not be included as part of its urban area, while neighbouring municipalities whose urban development is directly contiguous with the main city's urban core population will be included.
For example, the cities of Surrey and White Rock are part of Metro Vancouver; however, the population centre of Vancouver includes only the urbanized northern part of Surrey. As a band of more sparsely populated rural area separates White Rock and the adjacent South Surrey neighbourhood from northern Surrey, these communities form the distinct population centre of White Rock and are not part of Vancouver's statistical urban area. Similarly, the district municipality of Delta is also part of Metro Vancouver, while the population centre of Vancouver includes the neighbourhoods of Ladner and Tsawwassen but excludes the less densely populated North Delta area.