The Population Ecumene of Canada: Exploring the Past and Present

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by Carolyn Weiss and Patricia Cillis (Geography Division) and Neil Rothwell (Agriculture Division), Statistics Canada


The term ecumene comes from the Greek word oikoumene, which means inhabited land or inhabited world. Geographers generally use the term to refer to land where people have made their permanent home, and to all work areas that are considered occupied and used for agricultural or any other economic purpose.

This working paper first examines the ecumene concept from a geographic viewpoint and highlights some of the geographic literature. It also examines the cartographic issues, such as the limitations of the choropleth map, and then provides an overview of Statistics Canada's use of the ecumene in its thematic mapping program. Finally, the paper provides details on the development of the population ecumene for the 2006 Census.

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