An Analysis of Socio-Economic Strains and Population Gains: Urban and Rural Communities of Canada 1981-2001


  • Fernando Mata Strategic Policy Research Directorate, Human Resources and Social Development Canada
  • Ray D. Bollman Agriculture Division, Statistics Canada



Important demographic shifts have occurred in Canada in the last decades. As a consequence of these shifts, many geographical communities have won or lost substantial number of residents between 1981 and 2001. Using the CCS (consolidated census subdivision) data set of the Agriculture Division of Statistics Canada, the paper explores the linkages between socio-economic strains and population changes affecting communities in a variety of regional and provincial contexts. A total of 2,607 rural and urban consolidated census subdivisions were examined across five census periods. Quasi simplex structural equation models using unemployment, earnings and poverty as indicators were tested on a variety of communities located in various OECD regions and provinces. Although the predictive power of strains on population gains was found to be limited in the models, a higher level of strain was persistently found to be negatively associated with population gains regardless of regional and provincial groupings of communities. Socio-economic strains were also observed to be relatively stable over time across a variety of geographies.