Share of Canadians in rural areas shrinks for ninth consecutive census, StatCan says

Share of Canadians in rural areas shrinks for ninth consecutive census, StatCan says
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News

Statistics Canada says the share of Canadians living in rural areas has declined for the ninth census in a row, dropping from 18.7 per cent in 2016 to 17.8 per cent in 2021.

The agency says it counted more than 6.6 million people living in rural parts of the country in May 2021.

It says the population of rural Canada ticked up 0.4 per cent compared to five years earlier, but the rate of growth trailed behind the 6.3 per cent rise in urban areas.

Doug Norris, chief demographer at Environics Analytics, says rural-to-urban migration, aging populations and lower rates of immigration have decimated many rural communities in the far reaches of Saskatchewan, eastern Quebec and Atlantic Canada over the last two decades.

Statistics Canada says the lag between rural and urban growth might have been starker had it not been for the pandemic’s demographic disruptions.

The agency says the immigration slowdown brought on by COVID-19 border restrictions had a more pronounced impact on population growth in large urban centres, while the rise of remote work saw urbanites flock to some rural areas.

The Canadian Press

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