Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Arts




Haan, Michael D.


As Canada increases immigration rates, there is a greater need for geographic dispersion to counteract issues of population aging and economic disparities. Historically, Canada’s main Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) have experienced the greatest gains in terms of immigrant recruitment and retention. The problem, however, is that this leaves rural regions falling behind in terms of both population increases and overall development. As such, understanding the characteristics of both rural movers and residents is of utmost importance, especially in regard to potential policy initiatives aimed at ensuring newcomers to Canada are evenly distributed across the country. This study adds to the growing body of literature looking at the urban-rural divide by investigating the characteristics of rural migrants, an important component of which are secondary migrants, who lived in urban Canada in 2015 but, as of 2016, have moved into rural locations through the use of the 2016 Canadian Census, as well as those of residences within these locations in both 1991 and 2016 through the use of the Census for each year. Overall, individuals making rural migratory and residential decisions are often married, with children, and of non-visible and non-immigrant status, thereby necessitating updated initiatives as a means of drawing in a more diverse newcomer population to rural destinations.

Summary for Lay Audience

In "The Places We'll Go: Rural Migration in Canada," we are interested in understanding what factors encourage new arrivals to Canada, as well as the existing Canadian population, to live in more rural settings. By examining factors such as marriage, children, language proficiency, education, income, province of residence, and immigrant/visible minority status, we are able to define what characteristics may positively predict the likelihood that an individual will live in a smaller community. Overall, individuals who are married, have children, and are of neither immigrant nor visible minority status tend to opt for these more rural locations. This finding suggests that current immigration policies within Canada need to be adjusted in order to encourage a more extensive pool of new arrivals to move to locations outside of large cities across the country.