The percent of population that is rural varies by province: N.L. (54%); P.E.I. (45%); N.B. (42%); Sask. (40%); N.S. (36%); Man. (32%); Alta. (21%); Que. (20%); B.C. (13%); Ont. (12%). Quebec has the largest rural population (1.49 million).

Urbanization continuing: rural comprised 20.7% of Canada’s population in 1996; 19.7% in 2001; and 18.9% in 2006.

Not all rural areas are in decline.

Declining and aging population as well as youth out-migration in many but not all rural areas.

Although the population of rural Canada increased by 1.1% over 2001 to 2006, approximately 55% of rural communities lost population.

Between 2001 and 2006, the growth in and stability of rural Canada's population was concentrated in 45% of rural communities: rural communities adjacent to urban centres, those that are amenity-rich and remote rural areas with Aboriginal populations (with high birth rates) have gained population.

  • Population in urban-adjacent communities increased 4.9% over 2001 and 2006.
  • Population growth in amenity-rich communities [e.g. Sylvan Lake, Alta. (+36.1%); Wasaga Beach, Ont. (+21.1%); Sainte-Adèle, Que. (+15.4%)]
  • Population in the rural territories increased 8.7% over 2001 and 2006.

Some provinces' rural communities gained population over 2001 and 2006 (e.g. Alta (+4%); Ont. (+2.5%); Que. and Man. (+2.4%); BC (+0.7%) while other provinces' rural communities lost population (N.L (-5.6%); Sask. (-4.6%); N.B. (-2.2%); N.S. (-1.8%); P.E.I. (-1.3%).

Aboriginal people comprised 9.3% of Canada's rural population in 2006, up from 8.2% in 2001. Rural Manitoba had the largest share of aboriginal population (25.4%), followed by rural Saskatchewan (20.9%), rural British Columbia (12.2%), and rural Alberta (11.9%).

Aboriginal peoples represent a potential growing labour force for rural but need skills and education.

Rural areas are generally aging faster than urban areas.

Faits ruraux

Le niveau de scolarité des Autochtones est plus faible que celui de la population urbaine ou rurale. Par exemple, 15 % des Autochtones ont un diplôme collégial, 11 % ont un apprentissage ou un certificat de métier, 6 % ont un certificat, diplôme ou grade universitaire, 44 % ont moins que l'école secondaire.