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Tuesday, December 9, 2003

Rural economic diversification

1986 to 1996

Economic diversification, as measured by the degree to which the workforce is spread across a variety of industrial sectors, increased in nearly two-thirds of Canada's rural communities from 1986 to 1996, according to a new study.

However, only four out of every 10 rural communities (41%) experienced a diversifying economy and a growing workforce during this 10-year period. There were also large differences among the provinces and within regions.

It also found that communities within a census division, roughly equal to a county, may be geographically close, but may not share the same economic characteristics.

This suggests two ideas. First, elements other than the regional context, such as leadership skills and community cohesion, may be behind a community's economy.

Secondly, there is a need to compare rural communities to themselves and to reduce the emphasis on urban-rural contrasts. In other words, there should be a greater focus toward equalizing socio-economic differences among rural communities, and assisting those that are doing poorly on a regional scale.

Just over one-half (52%) of communities dominated by agriculture recorded growth in both their workforce and in diversification, as did 41% of those dominated by mining. Only a small proportion of those dominated by logging and forestry showed growth.

The study "Rural economic diversification: A community and regional approach" is now available online in the Rural and small town Canada analysis and bulletin series, Vol. 4, no. 7 (21-006-XIE, free). From the Our products and services page, under Browse our Internet publications, choose Free, then Population and demography.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Marjorie Page (613-951-4547; or Roland Beshiri (613-951-6506;, Agriculture Division.

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Date Modified: 2003-12-09 Important Notices