Ashleigh Weeden, a rural studies PhD candidate in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, spoke twice to The Canadian Press about the national census and rural population growth, once before the census was released and again after it was published.
A preview article appeared in several publications across the country, including the Toronto Star, in which Weeden remarked rural communities near larger urban centres tend to grow more, while those further away see their populations decline. She said she hoped the data from this census would provide insight into how to develop rural communities regardless of their location and an idea of where people are moving.
Following the release of the census, the second The Canadian Press article was published, including by City News. In that article, Weeden warned against looking at “rural decline and urbanization as twin sides of some inevitable horrible coin.”
She also said investment into the infrastructure and living standards of rural communities is what’s needed most to assist them with changes to their population growth.