Enabling Access to Rural Data

Date: September 7, 2021

Author: Alex Petric—Rural Data Analyst at ROI

Communities across the rural-urban spectrum need up-to-date information to guide their decisions. Unfortunately, smaller communities often face challenges in accessing data. They may not have the technical or financial resources to identify and use data that are relevant for planning. Staff may have to attend to more immediate concerns, and sometimes, data may not be available at a high enough resolution for a town or village.

To help rural communities better engage with available data, ROI published A Fact-Finder’s Guide to Local & Regional Data in 2017 with the help of Statistician Ray Bollman. This year, ROI has updated the Guide to make it more accessible and to ensure that the information contained in it remains up to date as data sources change. The Guide gives an outline of data available for rural communities from sources like Statistics Canada. These include data on populations, the labour force, income levels, industries like agriculture, and much more. The Guide includes links to online data sources and provides information on how often data is updated, the geographies for which data are available, and how to access rural data through Statistics Canada’s data portal.

ROI has developed a short video to accompany this new version of the Fact-Finder's Guide. The video outlines important points to keep in mind when working with this data, including the different meanings of the word "rural" and the advantages and disadvantages of different types of data for rural regions. With the information in this video and Guide, rural communities will be better prepared to find, discuss, and analyze data that is relevant to their needs. Take a look at the video below, and be sure to check out the updated Fact-Finder's Guide here!