Growth in the countryside
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The population in settlements with 1,000 or more residents grew at twice the rate of the population in the countryside and in centres with less than 1,000 from 2001 to 2006. The population in larger centres grew to 25.3 million people, a 6% increase, compared with smaller centres that increased to 6.3 million people, a 3% increase.
Notably, from 2001 to 2006, the population in the countryside and smaller settlements of Saskatchewan fell by 3%, continuing a six-decade decline. In that period, most of the growth in the countryside and smaller settlements occurred in four provinces (Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta) and two territories (Yukon and the Northwest Territories). Prince Edward Island and Nunavut are the only two jurisdictions where residents in the countryside or smaller settlements represent a majority.
An increasing share of Canadian residents in the countryside and smaller settlements live within the commuting zone of larger centres. In 2006, more than one in three (35%) were living relatively near a larger centre.