Immigrants in Rural Canada: 2006

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By Roland Beshiri and Jiaosheng He, Statistics Canada


  • In Canada's rural and small town areas in 2006, immigrants accounted for 5.3% of the population, numbering 312,555 individuals.

  • Across the provinces, the share of immigrants in the rural and small town population ranged from 0.9% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 12% in British Columbia.

  • Traditional sources of immigrants (mainly Western and Northern Europe followed by the USA) constituted a higher share of the population across the rural zones of Canada compared to cities. Larger cities had a higher share of immigrants from South-East and East Asian countries.

  • In every province, recent immigrants were more prone to migrate into and out of rural areas during the 2001 to 2006 period, compared to the overall Canadian population.

  • Considering all residents, four provinces had an overall positive net in-migration to their rural and small town areas between 2001 and 2006: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. The results were different for recent immigrants (who arrived between 1996 and 2000). Only the rural and small town areas of Ontario achieved a positive net in-migration of these recent immigrants.

  • New immigrants (who arrived between 2001 and 2006) constituted a significant share of the 2006 population in some rural regions, such as the regions around Winkler and Steinbach in Manitoba and Fort McMurray in Alberta.