A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rural Counties & Districts Demographics

In considering what information should be included in any online Rural Network I thought that any county or community pages on such a web site should contain the basic demographics of the area. In that the Network we are considering is aimed at rural communities I thought that for any given County that population figures should be broken down into rural and urban (as defined by Statscan). Thinking that these numbers should be easily available from Statscan, especially given that they have just announced that all data will be 'free' I went looking, but after much digging could find no such breakdown.
I can get the numbers of urban verses rural for all of Canada or for any Province but I am danged if I can find it for Counties or other 'census areas' . Much information is available in the 'Community Profiles' tables, population, area & every thing from income stats to type of housing and much more is all there, but not a break down by rural or urban. It must be available somewhere, after all I must presume when we refer to a 'largely rural riding' or county it is based upon the numbers not just a wild guess. One could I suppose figure it out by taking the total population of the county and subtracting the population of those towns or 'urban' areas with its boundaries but this would involve both local knowledge and viewing, and extracting data from, many separate tables.

There is, I believe, a way for researchers to query the raw data and produce a customized report but so far as I can see this not only involves large downloads of data (not a option on limited connections) but is, at this point, still being charged for. The cost indicated for such data download is considerable $35, $50 or more per chart, we wonder if Statscan is going to survive what with budget cuts AND, if the promise to cease charging for data includes such downloads, the loss of other income. Is this a move by a government, now renown for its disdain for scientific data and those that produce it, to weaken the availability and viability of such data. Guess I am getting cynical, I wonder why!

So my little research project to document the percentage of rural & urban population in each Ontario County has gone down the tubes....... unless someone can point me to a source for this information or has previously extracted from Statscans raw data.
How about it, anyone have any idea where such data may be found on line without cost?.

UPDATE – Ok I have found the data for 2006 here. Found by a google search, still dont know why it was so hard to find directly on the statscan site!

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