Rural Canada is geographically, economically, socially and culturally diverse. The variation between different rural areas is significant, sometimes more significant than the differences between urban and rural areas as a whole.

'Rural' refers to towns or municipalities outside the commuting zone of larger urban centres (with 10,000 or more population).

95% of Canada’s land area is rural. Rural Canada is characterized by distance (e.g. to markets, services) and low population and business density.

5.9 million citizens comprising 19% of Canada’s population in 4,470 communities.

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.




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Rural Fact

Primary resource sector (agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and metals, energy) employment (production and support services) in rural Canada decreasing: 17% in 1996; 12% in 2009.