Differences between rural and urban populations:

The Community Information Database uses both the Rural and Small Town Canada (RST) and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Regional Typologyd efinitions to distinguish between rural and urban populations.  In Canada, the RST definition captures variations among rural areas effectively while the OECD definitions are useful for international comparisons.  Though the characteristics of “rural” people are different for each definition of “rural”, in general, each definition provides a similar analytical conclusion.

Rural and Small Town Canada:

Under the Rural and Small Town Canada definition, residents of urban Canada are those residing in a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) or Census Agglomeration (CA).  CMAs have an urban core population of at least 100,000 and include all neighbouring municipalities where 50% or more of the labour force commutes into the urban core.  CAs have an urban core population between 10,000 and 99,999 and include all neighbouring municipalities where 50% or more of the labour force commutes into the urban core.

Residents of rural Canada are defined as individuals residing in RST regions (Census Subdivisions) that generally have a population of less than 10,000 and where less than 50% of employed individuals commute to a CMA or CA for work.  The RST definition may be broken down to show differences in rural areas, based on the degree of labour market integration (urban influence).  The variation between different rural areas is significant, sometimes more significant than the differences between urban and rural areas as a whole.

To capture varying degrees of rurality among the rural population of the country under the RST definition, rural communities are classified into four groups using the Census Metropolitan Area and Census Agglomeration Influenced Zones classification system (MIZ).  The MIZ classification system is designed to measure the degree to which urban areas influence rural areas, as measured by commuting flows.  Rural communities are classified into four MIZ categories based on the proportion of the population commuting to CMAs and CAs as follows.

MIZ Zones for Rural and Small Town (RST) Canada:

Strong MIZ: Between 30% and 49% of the workforce commutes to the urban core of any larger urban centre, suggesting that this population is strongly integrated with the urban economy.

Moderate MIZ: At least 5% but less than 30% of the workforce commutes to the urban core of any larger urban centre, suggesting that this population is moderately integrated with the urban economy.

Weak MIZ: More than 0% but less than 5% of the workforce commutes to the urban core of any larger urban centre, suggesting that this population is weakly integrated with the urban economy.

No MIZ: 0% of the workforce commutes to the urban core of any larger urban centre (plus any community that has less than 40 people in its employed labour force), suggesting that this population is not at all integrated with the urban economy.

“The MIZ classification system is a measure of rural residents’ interrelation with urban regions and reflects both the economic and social connection from rural to urban regions.  The MIZ classification is more than just a measure of home-to-work journeys and access to labour markets since people often use services provided in the same regions where they work.

Check out Statistics Canada’s MIZ tutorial

Statistics Canada Map: MIZ Zones

OECD Regional Typology:

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) definition of rural is based on population density.  The OECD defines rural communities as those having a population density below 150 inhabitants per square kilometre.

A predominantly rural (rural) region (Census Division) has more than 50% of its population living in rural communities.

A predominantly urban (urban) region (Census Division) has less than 15% of the population living in rural communities.

An intermediate region (Census Division) has between 15% and 50% of the population living in rural communities.

A region that would be classified as rural is classified as intermediate if it has an urban centre of more than 200,000 inhabitants representing no less than 25% of the regional population.  A region that would be classified as intermediate is classified as predominantly urban if it has an urban centre of more than 500,000 inhabitants.

Resource-reliance:

Resource reliant communities are reliant on their area’s natural resources for their economic prosperity. Resource-reliance measures employment income generated from the exploitation, processing, and sometimes distribution, of a natural resource.  Communities are resource-reliant when at least 30% of their direct employment income from their economic base comes from one of the five natural resource sectors: agriculture, forestry, mining, fishery, energy.

The classification used for the five sectors is the 1980 Revision of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) (Statistics Canada, 1980). The SIC classifies all measurable economic activity into industry types.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

 

 

 

Go to Data

Rural Fact

Although rural Canada's population is generally older (median age 42.1) than the population of urban Canada (median age 38.9), rural remote areas in Territories are much younger (median age 27.6) due to an...