The Canadian census which reported a huge increase in the number of same-sex couples may be skewed due to the way the couples were counted, and there may not be as many as previously thought.

The census counted 64,575 same-sex couples in 2011, up 42.4 percent from 2006, but Statistics Canada included a disclaimer saying “these data should be used with caution.”

A spokesperson for Statistics Canada, Marc Hamel, said there was definitely an increase, but the number of couples, may have been skewed, reported the Toronto Sun.

Areas such as rural Alberta showed higher than average increases in the number of same-sex couples, which may have been a misidentification of transient workers with roommates

An example given was that a same-sex couple shown on the census could have been a married migrant worker, working away from home, who lives with a roommate who is also married to someone else.

“In some cases, this is actually accurate and they are married to each other and in some cases it might be inaccurate, they’re married to someone else in Canada and possibly should not have been listed in the dwelling,” Hamel said.

The census, released this week, reported that between 2006 and 2011, the number of same-sex married couples more than doubled.

It said, the number of declared same-sex couples had skyrocketed since same-sex marriage was legalised in Canada in July 2005.

Mr Hamel said that Statistics Canada will look at the way they count complex families, with a view to improving it in future;

“In this case, the true value of what should have been collected will remain unknown,” he said.

“We believe there is a likelihood we would put people together as a family when they’re not. We obviously need to look at our processes in a way to update them and make them better.”