Data and definitions
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In this paper, the geographical concept of Rural and Small Town Canada is defined as labour markets areas which are outside of the commuting zones of larger urban centers with core populations of 10,000 or more. Rural and Small Town Canada Analysis bulletins address issues of interest to rural Canada such as employment trends, education levels, health status, Internet usage and number of firms by type, among others.
As discussed in Puderer (2009) and du Plessis et al. (2001), there are numerous possible operational definitions of urban and rural areas, of which the one used in this paper is only one.
Statistics Canada encourages readers to explore issues raised in this paper using alternative definitions to understand better the sensitivity of the findings to these different definitions.
Larger urban centres: Two types of larger urban centres are delineated by Statistics Canada's Statistical Area Classification (SAC) definition: Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) and Census Agglomerations (CAs). CMAs have an urban core population of 50,000 or more with a total population of 100,000 or more and CAs have an urban core population of 10,000 or more with a total population of less than 100,000. Both CMAs and CAs include the total population of neighbouring census subdivisions (CSDs), that is, incorporated towns and municipalities, where more than 50% of the labour force commutes (i.e. a measure of social-economic integration) to the urban core of a specific CMA or CA. The exact details of the delineation are available from Statistics Canada (2007a).
In this bulletin, the term 'Larger Urban Centres' (LUCs) refers to the combined CMAs and CAs.
Rural and small town ( RST ) areas refer to non-CMA/CA areas. RST areas are divided into five types of zones based on the degree of influence of LUCs (as indicated by the degree of commuting to any CMA or CA). These zones are Census Metropolitan and Census Agglomerated Influenced Zones (MIZs) (Statistics Canada, 2007a). The five zones are: Strong MIZ, Moderate MIZ, Weak MIZ, No MIZ and the non-CMA/CA part of the Territories. These are defined as follows:
- Strong MIZ includes CSDs with a commuting flow of 30% or more (at least 30% of the total employed labour force living in the CSD works in anyCMA/CAs' urban core);
- Moderate MIZ includes CSDs with a commuting flow of between 5% and 30% (at least 5%, but less than 30% of the total employed labour force living in the municipality works in any CMA/CAs' urban core);
- Weak MIZ includes CSDs with a commuting flow of more than 0%, but less than 5% (more than 0%, but less than 5% of the total employed labour force living in the municipality works in anyCMA/CAs' urban core);
- No MIZ includes CSDs with either fewer than 40 people in the resident labour force (where data suppression rules apply) or where no people commute to the urban core of anyCMA or CA; and
- RST Territories refers to the non-CMA/CA parts of the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The SAC delineation provides for a more detailed geographic analysis of immigrants in terms of the type of labour market in which they are residing and allows for a more meaningful presentation of their numbers and characteristics.
Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regional typology
For the presentation of the number of immigrants as a percent of the total population within predominantly rural regions across Canada, the regional typology of the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) geographic definition is used. Predominantly rural regions are census divisions (CDs) where more than 50% of the population lives in a rural community. A rural community has a density less than 150 persons per square kilometre.
Intermediate regions are CDs where 15% to 49% of the population lives in rural communities.
Predominantly urban regions are CDs where less than 15% of the population lives in a rural community.
Using CDs to rank the relative attractiveness of a region for immigrants provides an update to an earlier ranking (Beshiri, 2004, Appendix Table 1) and, in addition, this ranking can be updated on an annual basis using the components of population change published by the Demography Division of Statistics Canada (CANSIM Table 051-0035).
Population groups studied in the paper are tabulated from the 2006 Census of Population and include:
Immigrants are those born outside of Canada and are, or have been, landed immigrants. A landed immigrant is a person who has been granted the right to live in Canada permanently by immigration authorities. Some immigrants have lived in Canada for many years while others are recent arrivals. We have grouped immigrants according to their period of arrival (i.e., when they obtained landed immigrant status), as follows:
Well established:those who arrived in Canada previous to 1986
Established:those who arrived in Canada between 1986 and 1995
Recent:those who arrived in Canada between 1996 and 2000
New:those who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006.
The specific question on the Census of Population questionnaire is "In what year did this person first become a landed immigrant? Each of our categories covers a five-year period, except the category for the new immigrants covers the period from January 1, 2001 to the day of the census in 2006 (i.e. May 16, 2006).
Canadian-born are those born in Canada and therefore are not part of any immigrant group. Note that the children of immigrants who are born in Canada are counted with the Canadian-born population.
In 2004, we published 'Immigrants in rural Canada: 2001 update' (Beshiri, 2004). In it we used the OECD definition of rural (see Box 1). This definition is different than the Statistics Canada SAC definition. Using the OECD definition of rural, 7% of the residents of predominantly rural regions were immigrants in 2006, up from 6% in 2001. The share of population accounted for by immigrants increased more in predominantly urban regions.
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