Printer Friendly

Population growth in Rural and small town Ontario: Metropolitan decentralization or deconcentration?/La croissance de la population dans les petites villes et les regions rurales de l'Ontario : La decentralisation ou la deconcentration metropolitaines?


Between 1996 and 2001, Ontario experienced an increase in its rural and small town population. This paper determines whether growth was a result of metropolitan decentralization or deconcentration. Analysis of migration data reveals that movement from metropolitan regions to municipalities under strong or moderate urban influence (i.e. decentralization) accounted for almost one-half of all migrations. Comparable movement to rural settings under weak or no urban influence (i.e. deconcentration) represented 3% of all relocations. Migration from census agglomerations, and other rural settlements, also promoted growth of non-metropolitan municipalities. It is concluded that although metropolitan decentralization was the most important migration path, it is one of many which led migrants into rural Ontario during this 5-year period.


Entre 1996 et 2001, l'Ontario a enregistre une croissance demographique dans ses regions rurales et ses petites villes. Cet article s'efforce de determiner si cette croissance est le resultat d'une deconcentration ou d'une decentralisation urbaine. L'analyse des donnees de recensement des migrations montre que les residents empruntent divers chemins migratoires. Les regions metropolitaines de recensement (RMR) et les municipalites sous influence urbaine moderee ou forte (decentralisation) representent pres de la moitie des migrations. En revanche, le mouvement des regions metropolitaines vers les regions rurales sous influence urbaine faible ou nulle (deconcentration) ne represente qu'environ 3 % du total des deplacements. L'analyse constate que les migrations d'habitants des plus petites agglomerations urbaines (agglomerations de recensement ou AR) contribuent egalement a la croissance demographique des regions rurales et des petites villes de l'Ontario. La migration a partir des AR vers les regions rurales et les petites villes sous influence urbaine moderee ou forte (decentralisation sous-metropolitaine) represente un cinquieme de tous les mouvements de population. A l'inverse, la deconcentration sous-metropolitaine (migration vers des regions sous influence urbaine faible ou nulle) ne represente que 2 % de tous les deplacements. L'analyse montre egalement que plus d'un quart de tous les mouvements migratoires ont lieu entre les agglomerations rurales. La majorite des demenagements sont des 'migrations vers l'espace rural' definies ici comme des mouvements entre des municipalites des regions rurales et des petites villes sous influence forte ou moderee. L'analyse conclut donc que la decentralisation metropolitaine est la principale source de migration responsable de la croissance des regions rurales et des petites villes de l'Ontario. Bien que la deconcentration metropolitaine existe, elle ne represente qu'une source migratoire relativement modeste qui profite aux municipalites offrant des amenites naturelles. Les resultats de l'analyse soulignent egalement l'importance des mouvements migratoires en provenance des plus petites agglomerations urbaines (agglomerations de recensement) et l'importance continue de la migration entre les agglomerations rurales. L'analyse des donnees de migration entre 2001 et 2006 permettra de determiner si ces tendances se confirment.


Population decline characterized many of Canada's non-metropolitan municipalities during the latter half of the 20th century. Between 1971 and 2001, for example, the percentage of the population residing in rural areas and small towns declined by about one fifth, to only 20.3% (Mendelson and Bollman 1998; Statistics Canada 2001 a). In fact, during the last census period of the millennium (1996-2001), more than 50% of the country's smallest settlements lost residents (Statistics Canada 2001 a). Despite this general trend, non-metropolitan populations grew in Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta. The purpose of this paper is to assess the contribution of various types of migration to the growth of rural and small town settlements in the province of Ontario.

Ontario is, unarguable, Canada's most urban region. In 2001 it was home to 11,410,046 residents with the majority (73.6%) located in its largest Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) (Statistics Canada 2001 a). In addition, a further 12% could be found within its smaller urban settings, designated by Statistics Canada as "Census Agglomerations (CAs)". (1) Although the majority of the population did, therefore, live within large urban centres, about 14% (1,484,097 residents) could be found in the province's rural areas and small towns, an increase of 1.5% since 1996 (Statistics Canada 2001a). Given the very urban nature of Ontario, it is assumed that this favourable state is largely the result of "intra-provincial metropolitan decentralization"; that is, the migration of residents from Ontario's largest urban centres (Census Metropolitan Areas) into the city's countryside. This paper seeks to determine if, indeed, this is the case.

Metropolitan decentralization is not a novel occurrence in Ontario, or indeed in any part of the developed world (Coombes et al 1989). Its presence was first inferred during the second half of the 20th century, when higher growth rates were recorded outside, rather than within, metropolitan cores. In the United States (Butler and Fuguitt 1970), Great Britain (Kennett 1979) and Japan (Glickman 1979), this shift in growth was first acknowledged during the 1960s. A decade later, comparable trends were found to be taking place both within Australia (Rowland 1979; Burnley and Murphy 1995) and around the fringes of Toronto, Canada (Hodge 1973). Before long, similar scenarios were being recorded in other parts of this country (Bourne and Simmons 1979; Troughton 1981; Yeates 1984; Stabler 1987; Brierly and Todd 1990; Davies 1990; Stabler and Rounds 1997; Bruce et al 1999 and Millward 2000, 2002). In many cases, growth was attributed to the decision of urban residents to combine an urban workplace with the benefits of "rural" living. As greater numbers of these "ex-urbanites" (Spectorsky 1955; Beesley 1991; Vandermissen et al 2003) relocated to the countryside, municipalities formerly classified as "rural" and "small town" soon became engulfed by the expanding sphere of urban influence.

At the same time as cities were spilling into the adjacent countryside, a second, although less pervasive, movement was recognized. Coined "deconcentration" (Robert and Randolph 1983), this migratory path is one that leads metropolitan residents to destinations that lie beyond the sphere of immediate urban influence (i.e. commuting distance). International recognition of this trend (Vining and Kontuly 1978) prompted many to question why metropolitan residents were being lured to these more isolated settings.

Through survey research it was revealed that the decision to migrate frequently is driven by a desire to replace the disamenities of urban living, with the perceived benefits of residence in a bucolic setting (Crump 2003; Chipeniuk 2004). While some "anti-urbanites" (Mitchell 2004) have been found to adopt this new lifestyle upon retirement, others are able to enjoy the amenities of rural living by seeking out, or creating, employment in their new place of residence (Dahms 1996, 1998; Dahms and McCoomb 1999; Mitchell et al 2004).

For some, however, the appeal of the country stems only from the economic advantages that it provides. In these cases, residence in a non-metropolitan setting is not a preferred option, but an economic necessity (van Dam et al 2002). While many "displaced urbanites" (Mitchell 2004) chose a rural residence for its lower cost of living and inexpensive housing (Hugo and Bell 1998), others are lured by the availability of employment (Halseth 1999). Whatever the motive, the inevitable result is urban out-migration and the subsequent growth of select non-metropolitan spaces located beyond the city's immediate sphere of influence.

The growth of more distant rural municipalities was first recognized in the United States (Beale 1977) but, before long, was soon found to be taking place across Western Europe (Vining and Kontuly 1978). Although a limited amount of small town resurgence has been documented in Canada periodically since the 1970s, it has generally been concluded that growth is largely a function of population decentralization, rather than deconcentration (Kuz and James 1998; Joseph et al 1988; Keddie and Joseph 1991; Mitchell 2005). Several localized Ontario case studies have found that metropolitan residents seek out distant RST municipalities (Dahms and McCoomb 1999; Mitchell et al 2004). However, we have yet to uncover the extent to which metropolitan deconcentration was responsible for the growth of Ontario's rural and small town municipalities between 1996 and 2001. This paper seeks to address this gap by describing the migration paths that led rural residents to non-metropolitan settlements experiencing growth in the province of Ontario during this five-year period.


To meet this objective, information is extracted from a custom run of census data on internal migrants, five years and older, who moved from somewhere in Canada to a"rural and small town" (RST) municipality between 1996 and 2001. These are defined by Statistics Canada as census subdivisions located beyond the defined boundaries of urban areas (Census Agglomerations and Census Metropolitan Areas). In-migration data were included for Ontario RSTs that met three criteria.

First, a positive rate of growth must have occurred between 1996 and 2001 (n = 177). Second, CSDs experiencing growth must not be designated as a "Reserve" or "Indian Settlement" (n = 122), and third, complete population and migration data must be available (n = 1:22). In total, therefore, the sample is comprised of 122 rural and small town census subdivisions. This represents 27.5% of Ontario's non-Aboriginal rural and small town municipalities, and 100 % of non-Aboriginal CSDs reporting growth during the 1996-2001 census period.

The importance of metropolitan decentralization and deconcentration is assessed in three steps. Each rural migrant is first assigned to one of six origin classes, as identified by Statistics Canada: CMA (within and outside Ontario), CA (within and outside Ontario) and RST municipality (within and outside Ontario). The provincial origin of migrants is identified to potentially permit the separation of moves taken within one labour market, from those taken between.

Next, the destination of each migrant is classified according to the degree to which it is under urban influence. This is defined by Statistics Canada as the strength of commuting ties between a RST municipality and a neighbouring urban area (CMA or CA). Four types of influence zones have been identified: strong, moderate, weak or no influence, based on the strength of this association (2) . Using this classification allows one to determine if movement to a rural area takes the form of decentralization or deconcentration. For the purpose of this study, if a move is taken to a municipality under strong or moderate influence, then it is defined as decentralization. In contrast, the move is viewed as deconcentration if migrants elect to locate in a municipality under weak or no influence. These definitions assume, therefore, that people who decentralize desire the ability to maintain a regular tie to an urban core. In contrast, those engaging in deconcentration choose to relinquish this connection, in favour of a more isolated setting.

In the final step, data on origins and destinations are combined to reveal a number of different migration streams. Eight general streams are identified (Table 1). When the provincial origin of migrants is considered, this gives rise to 16 different migration paths. Four of these reflect population decentralization. Six are an indication of population deconcentration, and six others involve movement within the rural settlement system. Given the distribution of Ontario's population, it is assumed that the majority of moves taken to smaller municipalities will originate from its Census Metropolitan Areas. Whether these relocations reflect decentralization or deconcentration, remains to be seen.


Migrant Origins

The extent of rural in-migration between 1996 and 2001 is described in Table 2. Approaching one half (42.8%) of the Ontario population (five years and older), changed residence during the five-year period. Approximately one-third (34.5%) of these movers relocated to a municipality somewhere in Canada. Of these "internal migrants", more than 10% elected to settle in rural Ontario (167,010). This represents nearly one-third of all moves taken to a Canadian RST municipality during the 1996-2001 census period.

Table 3 reveals the provincial origin of Ontario's rural in-migrants. The majority of residents who chose a rural residence came from the province of Ontario (92.5%), followed by Quebec (3755), British Columbia (2645) and Alberta (2590). Considerably fewer made the move from eastern Canada, with Manitoba and Saskatchewan also contributing very small numbers. Rural in-migrants are drawn from a variety of settlement types (Table 4).

CMAs are the prime source region, with approaching one-half (46.7%) originating from within the province. This percentage is somewhat less than anticipated, given that the majority of Ontario's population resided in its CMAs in 1996. The city of Toronto was the main source for rural Ontario's in-migrants. During this brief 5-year period, nearly 13 000 residents relocated from Toronto to the countryside (16% of all moves from CMA municipalities). Halifax, Nova Scotia, was the primary source region for all inter-provincial migrants, adding 730 residents to Ontario's RST population by 2001.

Moves from smaller urban agglomerations represent 21.4% of the total, with the bulk of these again coming from within the province (19.8%). This percentage is higher than expected, based on the distribution of Ontario's population in 1996. Barrie was the most important source region for these migrants, contributing upwards of 3000 residents to rural Ontario (about 8% of all moves taken from CAs). The departure of more than 200 residents from Cold Lake, Alberta (the site of a military base) makes this municipality the most important source region for inter-provincial migrants of this type.

Although the majority of moves to rural municipalities did originate in an urban setting, more than one-quarter of all RST residents who migrated between 1996 and 2001 were former residents of Ontario's non-metropolitan communities (28%). Growth of individual townships or small towns, therefore, is a function not only of "counterurbanization" (i.e. moves from larger to smaller municipalities: Mitchell 2004), but is also a result of moves taken within the RST settlement system (as found by Beasley and Walker 1990). The Township of Wellington North (located west of Toronto) was the most important source region for these migrants, sending more than 900 residents to another RST municipality (about 6% of all moves from an RST CSD). A rural municipality in Nova Scotia (Kings, Subd. A) was the most significant locale outside Ontario, contributing 100 residents to the province's rural settlement system.

Migrant Destinations

As described in the methodology, four types of destination zones are identified based on the influence exerted by a neighbouring urban core. Growth is distributed unevenly amongst these four zones (Table 5). Most municipalities that experienced growth are under strong urban influence (53.3%). In total, more than 115,000 residents moved to these municipalities, representing nearly 70% of the migrant pool. This influx of migrants generated an average growth rate of about 6% in these communities between 1996 and 2001. Far exceeding this average, however, is the town of Wasaga Beach, the fastest growing rural and small town municipality in Ontario. This status is not surprising, considering the wealth of environmental amenity that this recreational haven has to offer (Wasaga Beach 2009).

Zones of moderate influence, although attracting about 36,000 migrants, represent a smaller percentage of the destinations studied. Growth rates here are somewhat less (about 3%) than in zones of greater influence. Several townships, however, including Greater Madawaska, demonstrate more impressive levels. Like Wasaga Beach, this municipality of the Ottawa Valley is replete with myriad amenities (The Township of Greater Madawasak 2009), which undoubtedly played a role in boosting this township's population by more than 12% between 1996 and 2001.

Only 14% of the sample municipalities are under weak influence. Together, these 17 communities attracted 9% of the migrant pool. Huntsville, as the fastest growing municipality under this influence level, stands out in that it grew by nearly 9% between 1996 and 2001. In contrast, municipalities under no urban influence did not attract a migrant pool. Although it is likely that some individuals are drawn to these areas; their numbers are insufficient to produce a positive rate of growth. This suggests that while migrants may wish to live in an isolated rural setting, the ability to connect, even irregularly, with an urban core, is a requisite condition.

Migration Streams

Thus far, it has been shown that the majority of migrants who chose to settle in rural Ontario were drawn from CMAs (50.6%). Furthermore, it has been concluded that most migrants appear to favour a rural destination that is under strong or moderate, rather than weak, or no, urban influence (90.8% versus 9.2%). To determine if these choices are a reflection of intra-provincial metropolitan decentralization or deconcentration necessitates that one combine the origin and destination data presented in the previous tables. The results of this amalgamation are presented in Tables 6 and 7, and are described below.

People arrive in rural and small town Ontario via a number of different paths (Table 6). As expected, intra-provincial metropolitan decentralization is a dominant stream taking residents into the city's countryside (43.3% of all moves). When inter and intra-provincial moves are combined (Table 7), we may identify municipalities that benefited most from this type of migration. In a relative sense, the Township of Assiginack, located on the eastern side of Manitoulin Island, attracted the greatest proportion of its migrants from Ontario's largest settlement areas (with most coming from nearby Sudbury). In an absolute sense, the municipality of Haldimand benefited more than any other from the out-migration of metropolitan residents. The main source area for this community was the adjacent city of Hamilton, which contributed nearly half of all in-migrants.

Metropolitan deconcentration, in contrast, was of minor importance, accounting for approximately 3% of all moves to growing RST municipalities. In some isolated areas, however, it was responsible for more than three-quarters of all migrations. This was the case in Central Manitoulin Township, where 280 of 330 in-migrants came from a CMA (e.g. Sudbury). Although of less relative importance, metropolitan out-migration brought more than 1,200 residents (of 3160) into the town of Huntsville. This municipality in Ontario's "cottage country" was the most important centre for metropolitan deconcentration in the province between 1996 and 2001 (Town of Huntsville 2009).

It is apparent, therefore, that the migration of Ontario's metropolitan residents did account for a significant proportion of all moves taken into the RST settlement system (46.7%). However, evidence provided here reveals that other migratory moves also promote growth outside the urban realm. Migration from the provinces' smaller urban areas (Census Agglomerations) to RSTs under strong or moderate influence, accounted for nearly 20% of all migrations taken to smaller municipalities.

This finding suggests that the same centrifugal forces that operate in large metropolitan regions, are also at work in Ontario's smaller urban centres. A case in point is the city of Barrie, which sent approaching 3000 residents into RST Ontario between 1996 and 2001, with the adjacent Township of Oro-Medonte being the main beneficiary. This influx, and that from eighteen other CA municipalities, made this rural township the largest recipient of sub-metropolitan decentralization in the province. Although attracting far fewer in-migrants, this demographic movement was the most important stream bringing people to the northerly Township of Calvin. Here, 70% of all in-migrants originated in smaller urban centres. The majority of these came from North Bay (44 migrants), with a limited number also drawn from nearby Douro-Dummer and Barrie.

Although sub-metropolitan decentralization did occur in many parts of the province, the movement of former CA residents to more isolated regions was of less significance. Deconcentration from CAs was responsible for less than 2% of all moves taken to RST Ontario. It was, however, of some significance to the municipality of South Bruce Peninsula (41.2% of all moves), located on Georgian Bay. Residents from 10 CA subdivisions were enticed to this area during the 5-year period, with Owen Sound contributing by far the greatest number (345 of 1,330 in-migrants). Likewise, nearly 600 (of 3,160) moves of this type were taken to Huntsville from 28 different CA municipalities.

Moves from larger municipalities, therefore, drive population change in many rural localities. However, migration within the RST settlement system also contributes to growth of individual communities. Of particular importance here is movement between municipalities under strong or moderate influence (i.e. countryside migration). This movement, which accounted for nearly one-fifth of all relocations, is likely a consequence of residents' desire to move deeper into the countryside in an effort to escape urban sprawl. In a relative sense, this type of movement was of importance to Horton, located one-hour west of Ottawa (120 of 215 moves). Similarly, moves from adjacent townships or small towns to Centre Wellington (near Guelph), increased its population by nearly 1000; the highest number of rural countryside movers recorded anywhere in the province.

The three other types of movement through the rural settlement system are somewhat less important and represent 8% of all migrations. RST concentration is evident in Gravenhurst, where approaching 500 residents elected to move to this scenic Muskoka community, from less well-connected centres, such as Bracebridge. Although this type of migration accounted for only one-quarter of all in-migratory moves to this town (2,260), they were responsible for approaching one-half in the township of Hilton (35 of 75 moves), located off the north shore of Lake Huron.

Rural and small town deconcentration is another type of movement taking place to Ontario's rural and small town settlements. Although unimportant in most municipalities, it does account for more than two-thirds of all migrations taken to the Township of Howick, in southwestern Ontario (56.1%). In terms of absolute importance, the town of Huntsville received more migrants of this type than any other municipality (585 of 3,160), with Burk's Fails contributing the largest number of migrants (105).

Finally, remote migration is not an important migration stream (1.5%). However, it did bring more than 700 people to the town of Huntsville (of 3160 incomers). These newcomers were drawn from 21 comparable areas, including Lake of Bays, which contributed 200 of these new residents. While attracting fewer "remote" migrants, the township of Howick gained more than 30% of its newcomers from this migrant pool (200 of 660). Townships in Huron and Bruce Counties were the dominant source regions for those attracted to this municipality.

Discussion and Conclusions

Population loss is the norm in much of rural and small town Canada. In Ontario, however, this trend has been replaced by population gain. This paper has assessed the contribution of various types of migration to the growth that individual municipalities experienced during the 1996-2001 census period. Analysis of a custom run of migration data first revealed that during these five years, about 167,000 Canadians moved to an Ontario rural or small town municipality. As anticipated, many (50.6%) of these newcomers were drawn from large metropolitan regions (CMAs). However, it was also found that a comparatively large pool (21.4%) of migrants originated in smaller urban areas (CAs), and from within the rural settlement system (28%). The relative importance of these latter source regions was not anticipated, given that the majority of Ontario's residents live within its largest urban agglomerations.

An assessment of the destination of these migrants revealed that the majority selected a municipality that was under either strong or moderate urban influence. Relatively few migrants selected rural locales that were too isolated to allow for a regular connection to an urban core. If a more isolated region was selected, those with significant environmental and recreational amenity had the greatest drawing power. Places that are truly isolated, likely attract some in-migrants, but their numbers are insufficient to give rise to a positive rate of growth. Thus, although migrants do appear to seek out the amenities of rural living, these amenities must be combined with an ability to connect relatively easily to an urban region, should the need arise.

When the origin and destination data were combined, it was concluded that intra-provincial population decentralization was a dominant migration stream, accounting for 43.3% of all in-migrant moves. In contrast, the deconcentration of population from Ontario's urban areas was of minor importance, accounting for only 3.4% of all moves taken. Places that are well known for their touristic appeal fared relatively well in their ability to attract migrants of this type (e.g. Huntsville). Although urban out-migrants dominate the sample, and are responsible for growth of the rural settlement system, the fate of individual communities also is influenced by the decision of rural residents to remain within the countryside. In fact, nearly one-fifth of the migrant pool was found to be engaging in "countryside migration". Other types of movement throughout the rural settlement system did take place during the five-year period, but their overall importance was negligible.

In sum, population growth in Ontario's RSTs is a consequence of both the decision of urban residents to choose a less concentrated setting, as I have argued elsewhere (Mitchell 2005), and also the decision of others to remain within the rural and small town settlement system. Communities located within the sphere of urban influence have benefited most from these migration decisions; a conclusion reached by others for earlier time periods (i.e. Joseph et al 1988). It is inevitable, however, that as these municipalities continue to grow they will become less "rural". Individuals seeking a less congested environment will be forced to relocate to more distant townships or small settlements. Although these locations may be too far removed to permit a daily physical connection to the metropolis, (particularly as gasoline prices escalate), the ability to connect virtually will enhance the appeal of municipalities that, according to Statistics Canada, are beyond the sphere of urban influence.

A limited number of more remote settlements, well known for their scenic amenities, also have reaped the benefits of various migration paths, confirming what has been documented through various local surveys (e.g. Dahms and McCoomb 1999). As these communities continue to lure growing numbers of tourists and migrants, it is likely that their attractivity will be compromised. Those who still wish to engage in a rural lifestyle may be forced to search more widely, both within and beyond provincial borders, for the amenities that they desire. Analyses of the 2006 census data will reveal if pressures of growth have caused a shift in the spatial distribution of migration both to, and within, Ontario's rural and small town settlement system.


Beale, C. 1977. "The Recent Shift of United States Population to Non-metropolitan Areas, 1970-75". International Regional Science Review 2:2.

Beesley, K.B. 1991. Rural and Urban Fringe Studies in Canada. Toronto: Department of Geography, York University.

Beesley, K.B. and G. Walker. 1990. "Residence Paths and Community Perception: A Case from the Toronto Urban Field". The Canadian Geographer, 34: 321-330.

Bourne, L. and J. W. Simmons. 1979. Canadian Settlement Trends: An Examination of the Spatial Pattern of Growth: 1971-1976. Major Report No. 15. Toronto: Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Toronto.

Brierley, J. and D. Todd. 1990. Prairie and Small Town Survival: The Challenge of Agro-Manitoba. Queenston: Mellen.

Bruce, D., A. Taillon and J. Orser. 1999 Population Change in Atlantic Canada. Sackville: Rural and Small Town Research and Studies Programme, Department of Geography, Mount Alison University.

Burnley, I.H. and P. A. Murphy. 1995. "Residential Location Choice in Sydney's Perimetropolitan Region". Urban Geography, 16: 23-143.

Butler, J. and G. Fuguitt, G. 1970. "Small Town Population Change and Distance from Larger Towns". Rural Sociology, 35: 396-409.

Chipeniuk, R. 2004. "Planning for Amenity Migration in Canada--Current Capacities of Interior British Columbian Mountain Communities". Mountain Research and Development, 24: 327-335.

Coombes, M., R. Dalla Longa and S. Raybould. 1989. Counterurbanisation in Britain and Italy: a Comparative Critique of Concept, Causation and Evidence. Report No. 84. University of Newcastle upon Tyne: Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies.

Crump, J.R. 2003. "Finding a Place in the Country: Exurban and Suburban Development in Sonoma County, California". Environment and Behaviour, 35: 187-202.

Dahms, F.A. 1996. "The Greying of South Georgian Bay". The Canadian Geographer, 40: 148-163.

Dahms, F.A. 1998. "Settlement Evolution in the Arena Society in the Urban Field". Journal of Rural Studies, 14: 299-320.

Dahms, F. A. and J. McCoomb. 1999. "Counterurbanization, Interaction and Functional Change in a Rural Amenity Area--A Canadian example". Journal of Rural Studies, 15: 129-146.

Davies, W. 1990. "What Population Turnaround? Some Canadian Prairie Settlement Perspectives: 1971-1986". Geoforum, 21: 303-320.

Glickman, N.J. 1979. The Growth and Management of the Japanese Urban System. New York: Academic Press.

Halseth, G. 1999. "We Came for the Work: Situating Employment Migration in B.C.'s Small Resource-Based, Communities". The Canadian Geographer, 43: 363-381.

Hodge, G. 1973. "Subdivision Activity in the Periphery of the Toronto Urban Field", in L.S. Bourne (ed.). The Form of Cities in Central Canada: Selected Papers. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 221-228.

Hugo, G. and M. Bell. 1998. "The Hypothesis of Welfare-led Migration to Rural Areas: The Australian Case", in P. Boyle, and K. Halfacree (eds.). Migration into Rural Areas, Theories and Issues. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 107-133.

Joseph, A., P., Keddie and B. Smit. 1988. "Unraveling the Population Turnaround in Rural Canada". The Canadian Geographer, 32:17-30.

Keddie, P. and A.P. Joseph. 1991. "The Turnaround of the Turnaround? Rural Population Change in Canada, 1976 to 1986". The Canadian Geographer, 35: 412-420.

Kennett S. and N. Spence. 1979. "British Population Trends in the 1970s". Town and Country Planning, 48: 221-223.

Kuz, T. and A. James. 1998. "Population Changes in Southern Manitoba: Trends and Policy Implications: 1971-1991". Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 7: 72-100.

Mendelson, R. and R. Bollman. 1998. Rural and Small Town Population is Growing in the 1990s. Working Paper #36. Agriculture and Rural Working Paper Series. Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services, Statistics Canada.

Millward, H. 2002. "Peri-urban Residential Development in the Halifax Region 1960-2000: Magnets, Constraints and Planning Policies". The Canadian Geographer, 6: 33-47.

--. 2000. "The Spread of Commuter Development in the Eastern Shore Zone of Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1920-1988". Urban History Review, 29: 21-32.

Mitchell, C.J.A. 2004. "Making Sense of Counterurbanization". Journal of Rural Studies, 20: 15-34.

--. 2005. "Population Growth and External Commuting to Canada's Rural and Small Town Municipalities". Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 28: 462-86.

Mitchell, C.J.A., T.E. Bunting and M. Picionni. 2004. "Visual Artists: Counterurbanites at Work in the Canadian Countryside?" The Canadian Geographer, 48: 152-166.

Robert, S. and W.G. Randolph. 1983. "Beyond Decentralization: The Evolution of Population Distribution in England and Wales, 1961-1981". Geoforum, 14: 75-102.

Rowland, D.T. 1979. Internal Migration in Australia. Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Spectorsky, A.C. 1955. The Exurbanites. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

Stabler, J. 1987. "Non-metropolitan Population Growth and the Evolution of Rural Service Centres in the Canadian Prairie Region". Regional Science, 21: 43-53.

Stabler, J. and R.C. Rounds. 1997. "Commuting and Rural Employment on the Canadian Prairies", in R.D. Bollman and J.M. Bryden (eds.). Rural Employment: An International Perspective. New York: CAB International, 193-204.

Statistics Canada. 2001a. Population and Dwelling Counts, for Canada, Provinces and Territories by the Statistical Area Classification, 2001 and 1996 Censuses--100% Data. Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services.

--. 2001b. Internal Migrants 5 years of Age and Over by Selected CSD of Current Residence, Custom Tabulation. Ottawa: Ministry of Supply and Services.

--. 2001c Geographic Units. Products/Reference/dict/geo009.htm, accessed July 15, 2008.

The Township of Greater Madawaska. 2009. So Much to Explore. http: www., accessed January 30, 2009.

Town of Huntsville. 2009. Visitors. visitors_main.htm, accessed January 30, 2009.

Troughton, M. 1981. "Aspects of Employment and Commuting in the Fringe Zone of London, Ontario", in K. Beesley and L. Russwurm (eds.). The Rural-Urban Fringe: Canadian Perspectives. Toronto: Atkinson College, York University, 144-178.

Van Dam, F., S. Heins, and B.S. Elberson. 2002. "Lay Discourses of the Rural and Stated and Revealed Preferences for Rural Living. Some Evidence of the Existence of a Rural Idyll in the Netherlands". Journal of Rural Studies, 18: 461-476.

Vandermissen, M. P. Villeneuve, and M. Theriault. 2003. "Analyzing Changes in Urban Form and Commuting Time". The Professional Geographer, 55: 446-463.

Vining, D.R. and Y. Kontuly. 1978. "Population Dispersal from Major Metropolitan Regions: An International Comparison". International Regional Science Review, 3: 49-73.

Wasaga Beach. 2009. Wasaga Beach: The Beach is Just the Beginning. http://, accessed January 30, 2009.

Yeates, M. 1984. "Urbanization in the Windsor-Quebec City Axis". Urban Geography, 5: 2-24.

Clare J.A. Mitchell

Department of Geography and Environmental Management

University of Waterloo

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1


(1.) A CA includes an urban core of 10,000 residents and adjacent municipalities that are integrated with the core through commuting flows (Statistics Canada 2001c).

(2.) In those CSDs designated as high influence, between 30 and 50 % of the population commute to a CMA or CA. In a moderate influence zone, the percentage is between 5 and 30 with zones under weak influence with less than 5%.
TABLE 1 Rural and Small Town (RST) In-migration Streams

Migration types        Migrant origin             Migrant destination

1. Metropolitan

Intra-provincial       CMA either within or       Ontario RST under
inter-provincial       outside Ontario            strong or moderate
                                                  urban influence

2. Metropolitan

Intra-provincial       CMA either within or       Ontario RST under
Inter-provincial       outside Ontario            weak or no influence

3. Sub-metropolitan

Intra-provincial       CA either within or        Ontario RST under
inter-provincial       outside Ontario            strong or moderate
                                                  urban influence

4. Sub-metropolitan

Intra-provincial       CA either within or        Ontario RST under
inter-provincial       outside Ontario            weak or no urban

5. RST Countryside

                       RST under strong or        Ontario RST under
Intra-provincial       moderate influence         strong or moderate
Inter-provincial       either within or outside   urban influence

6. RST

                       RST under strong or        Ontario RST under
Intra-provincial       moderate influence         weak or no urban
inter-provincial       either within or outside   influence

7. RST Concentration

                       RST under weak or no       Ontario RST under
Intra-provincial       influence either within    strong or moderate
inter-provincial       or outside Ontario         influence

8. RST Remote

                       RST under weak or no       Ontario RST under
Intra-provincial       influence either within    weak or no urban
Inter-provincial       or outside Ontario         influence

TABLE 2 Mobility Status of Residents of Ontario and Canada
(5 years and over), 2001

                                              Ontario       Canada

Number of movers                             4 542 005   11 710 325
of all residents who moved                        42.8         41.9
Number of internal migrants                  1 566 365    4 482 775
% of all movers who were internal migrants        34.5         38.3
% of residents who were internal migrants         14.8         16.0
Total number of internal migrants              167 010      517 135
  going to growing RSTs
% of internal migrants who moved                  10.7         11.5
  to a growing RST
Number of origin CSDs                              758         4558

Note: Residents are identified as "movers" or "non-movers",
depending on their place of residence five years previous. Movers
are classified into two categories: non-migrants (those who live
at a different address but in the same census subdivision) and
migrants. Migrants also are divided into two groups: internal
(those who resided in a different census subdivision within
Canada) and external (those who moved from a location outside
Canada five years earlier).

Source: Statistics Canada (2001 a).

TABLE 3 Origin of Migrants to Ontario's Growing (Non-Aboriginal)
Rural and Small Town (RST) Municipalities, 1996-2001

                Number of Ontario   % of Ontario's
Origin region    RST in-migrants    RST in-migrants

NFLD                   720                0.5
PEI                    130               0.07
NS                    1695                1.0
NB                     830                0.5
QUE                   3755                2.2
ONT                  154 640             92.5
MAN                    910                0.5
SASK                   555                0.3
ALTA                  2 590               1.5
BC                    2 645               1.7
TERR                   195                0.1
Total                167 010              100

Source: Statistics Canada (2001b).

TABLE 4 Origin of In-migrants to Ontario's Growing
(Non-Aboriginal) Rural and Small Town (RST) Municipalities,

                           Number of   % of all RST in
Migrant Origin             migrants       migrants

Census Metropolitan Area     84 565         50.6
Census Agglomeration         35 870         21.4
Rural and Small Town         46 575         28.0
Census Subdivision
Total                       167 010          100

Census Metropolitan Area     78 035         46.7
Census Agglomeration         33 120         19.8
Rural and Small Town         41 830         25.1
Census Subdivision
Total                       152 985         91.6

Census Metropolitan Area     6 530           3.9
Census Agglomeration         2 750           1.6
Rural and Small Town         4 745           2.9
Census Subdivision
Total                        14 025          8.4

                                  Main source municipality
Migrant Origin
                                                  # of migrants
Total                              Name           to RST Ontario
Census Metropolitan Area         Toronto              12 795
Census Agglomeration              Barrie               2 770
Rural and Small Town         Wellington North          0 945
Census Subdivision

Census Metropolitan Area         Toronto              12 795
Census Agglomeration              Barrie               2 770
Rural and Small Town         Wellington North          0 945
Census Subdivision

Census Metropolitan Area   Halifax, Nova Scotia        0 730
Census Agglomeration        Cold Lake, Alberta         0 210
Rural and Small Town         Kings, Subd. A,           0 100
Census Subdivision             Nova Scotia

Note: Classification is based on 1996 population.
Source: Statistics Canada (2001 b).

TABLE 5 Distribution of Ontario's Growing (Non-Aboriginal) RST
Municipalities by Influence Zone

                 # of           % of
             destination    destination
                census         census      # of in-   % of in-
Zone         subdivisions   subdivisions   migrants   migrants

Strong            065            053       115 255       069

Moderate          040            033        36 470       022

Weak              017            014        15 285       009

No                000            000          000        000

Total             122            100       167 010       100

             Average    Municipality in zone
              growth    experiencing highest
Zone         rate (%)   growth rate (%)

Strong          006       Wasaga      043
influence                 Beach

Moderate        003      Greater      013
influence               Madawaska

Weak            004     Huntsville    009

No              --          --        --

Total           005

Source: Statistics Canada (2001 b).

TABLE 6 Types of Migration to Ontario's Growing (Non-Aboriginal)
Rural and Small Town Municipalities (RSTs), 1996-2001

                                                 Percent of all RST
Migration Types                        Number       in-migration

1.Metropolitan Decentralization
Intra-provincial                        72 310          43.3
Inter-provincial                         5 985           3.6

2. Metropolitan Deconcentration
Intra-provincial                         5 725           3.4
Inter-provincial                           545           0.3

3. Sub-metropolitan Decentralization
Intra-provincial                        30 970          18.5
Inter-provincial                         1 860           1.1

4. Sub-metropolitan Deconcentration
Intra-provincial                         2 150           1.3
Inter-provincial                           890           0.3

5. Countryside Migration
Intra-provincial RST                    30 390          18.2
Inter-provincial RST                     2 720           1.6

6. RST Deconcentration
Intra-provincial                         3 335           2.0
Inter-provincial                           155           0.1

7. RST Concentration
Intra-provincial                         5 905           3.5
Inter-provincial                         1 585           0.9

8. RST Remote migration
Intra-provincial                         2 200           1.3
Inter-provincial                           285           0.2
Total                                  167 010          100

Source: Statistics Canada (2001 b).

TABLE 7 Ontario Census Subdivisions (CSD) Demonstrating the
Highest Levels of Rural In migration (by Type), 1996-2001

                                       CSD of Greatest Relative

Migration Type                             CSD         Major in-
                                       Destination   migrant source
(Inter & intra-prov streams combined)

l. Metropolitan Decentralization       Assiginack       Greater
2. Metropolitan Deconcentration          Central        Greater
                                       Manitoulin       Sudbury

3. Sub-metropolitan Decentralization    Calvin TP      North Bay

4. Sub-metropolitan Deconcentration    South Bruce     Owen Sound

5. RST Countryside Migration             Horton         Amprior

6. RST Deconcentration                   Howick       North Perth

7. RST Concentration                     Hinton       Michipicoten

8. RST Remote Migration                  Howick       North Huron

                                       CSD of Greatest Absolute

                                                       Major in
Migration Type                             CSD         migrant
                                       Destination      source
(Inter & intra-prov streams combined)

l. Metropolitan Decentralization        Haldimand      Hamilton

2. Metropolitan Deconcentration        Huntsville      Toronto

3. Sub-metropolitan Decentralization   Oro-Medonte      Barrie

4. Sub-metropolitan Deconcentration    Huntsville     North Bay

5. RST Countryside Migration             Centre       Wellington
                                       Wellington       North

6. RST Deconcentration                 Huntsville    Gravenhurst

7. RST Concentration                   Gravenhurst   Bracebridge

8. RST Remote Migration                Huntsville    Lake of Bays

Source: Statistics Canada (2001b).
COPYRIGHT 2009 Canadian Journal of Regional Science
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Mitchell, Clare J.A.
Publication:Canadian Journal of Regional Science
Date:Sep 22, 2009
Previous Article:British Columbia's longevity advantage: a comparison of deaths across Canadian provinces and territories/L'avantage de la Colombie britannique en...
Next Article:Hobby farms and protection of farmland in British Columbia/Les exploitations non-conventionnelles et la protection du territoire agricole en Colombie...

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters