Time use and rurality – Canada 2005

Hugh Millward, Jamie Spinney

Rurality, time use, resource industries, travel, Canada

This paper provides a preliminary assessment of rurality as a factor affecting where and how people use their time, in a North American context. Rurality is a complex concept, but two key aspects are the degree of urban influence, and economic dependence on resource industries (farming and fishing particularly). Using dichotomous variables from the 2005 Canadian time use survey, we find that rural residence and resource employment both strongly influence time use and travel behaviour. Responding to fewer and more distant opportunities, people with rural residence participate less than urbanites in paid work, education, and shopping, and thus on average spend less time in these activities. Differences in time use between resource and nonresource workers are generally less marked than those related to urban versus rural workers. However, resource workers spend significantly less time in care-giving and sports, and more time in shopping and education. Participation in many activities is lower for resource workers, but those who participate spend significantly more time in paid work, domestic work, shopping, and education. Rural residents were found to spend considerably less time in travel than urban dwellers. On average, they take fewer trips per day, of shorter average duration, and spend less time in travel. Resource workers take significantly fewer trips than non-resource workers, spend less total time in travel, and have trips of lower average duration.