This page presents analysis and data for rural and urban Ontario prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

Rural Ontario definition

For research and analysis, OMAFRA defines rural Ontario as all the municipalities and Indigenous communities (First Nations, Metis or Inuit) that are not part of a census metropolitan area (CMA). Consequently, urban Ontario includes all municipalities within Statistics Canada’s CMAs. A CMA is an area which has a total population of 100,000 or more and a core population of 50,000 or more. It also includes all neighbouring census subdivisions (CSDs) where 50% or more of the workforce commutes into the core.

Socioeconomic statistics for rural and urban Ontario

Access data files for rural and urban Ontario (in Excel format) on key socioeconomic variables including:

  • demographic information for rural and urban Ontario by census year
  • economic indicators for rural and urban Ontario
  • labour force characteristics
  • number of businesses by industries and employee number
  • rural and urban Ontario census profiles (for all Census of Population variables starting with 2001)

For additional mapping and data for rural and urban Ontario, visit the Rural Ontario Institute’s fact sheets and dashboards. Rural Ontario Institute’s Rural Ontario Facts webpage contains a series of fact sheets supported by interactive dashboards based in the 2021 census of population. Each dashboard includes statistics, maps and other visualizations that make it easy to understand rural and regional trends. The fact sheets provide insight and analysis of rural facts and trends featured in the dashboards.

Rural Ontario dashboard

This interactive dashboard of key socioeconomic statistics for rural Ontario provides:

  • demographic information by census year (population change and age breakdown, immigrants, racialized population, educational attainment, average household income)
  • labour force statistics (employment by sector, labour force participation rates and unemployment rates)
  • economic indicators (GDP and number of businesses by industries and employee number)
  • Rural and urban comparisons of key socioeconomic indicators

Socioeconomic facts and data analysis about rural Ontario

Read an analysis of historical information about rural Ontario’s population characteristics and key rural economic and labour force indicators. The analysis highlights key facts about rural Ontario including graphs, maps and links to additional resources.