Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

November 07, 2005 12:41 ET

Rural Nova Scotia Very Different: Government of Canada Report

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 7, 2005) - 37 percent of Nova Scotia residents reside in rural areas, making it quite different from the rest of the country. This is just one of the findings of a new Government of Canada research paper looking at the economic, education, social and health care realities in rural and small town Nova Scotia released recently. The profile is one of 14 being developed for every province and territory in Canada, and one for the country as a whole.

"There is no such thing as a typical rural community in Nova Scotia or in Canada for that matter, each one has it's strengths and challenges that are different from urban Canada, but also different from one another," said the Honourable Wayne Easter, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food with special emphasis on Rural Development. "The Rural Nova Scotia Profile will help government and community decision-makers in developing programs, services and policies for rural communities."

A Statistics Canada research method divides Nova Scotia into four categories of rural, depending on how strongly they are economically and socially influenced by urban areas. The four categories are called Strong MIZ (Metropolitan Influenced Zone), Moderate MIZ, Weak MIZ and No MIZ, corresponding to strongly, moderately, weakly and not influenced by urban centres. Strong MIZ zones typically stood out as being most similar to the more advantaged urban centres. Many indicators revealed conditions that were much better in Strong MIZ areas than in the rest of rural Nova Scotia and, for some indicators, were actually better than in urban regions.

Census data between 1991 and 2001 was used to examine 20 indicators that can reflect conditions in different areas. They found there was often greater variation between the four types of rural than between rural and urban. Some noteworthy facts:

- Rural and small town Nova Scotia contains 37% of the total
population of Nova Scotia well above the National average of
- Rural Nova Scotians are more likely than urban Nova Scotians to
be self-employed (11.9% compared to 8.4% in 2001).
- Rural communities not influenced by an urban centre have by far
both the largest (32%) and the most rapidly expanding number of
Aboriginal residents.

This study was carried out by the Canadian Rural Partnership's Rural Secretariat with help from Statistics Canada. The Rural Secretariat is a part of the Government of Canada that focuses exclusively on rural issues. You can find more information on the Canadian Rural Partnership and the Rural Secretariat at

Contact Information

  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Valerie Roy
    Rural Communications, Rural Secretariat
    (866) 406-1100 (toll-free)