Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

December 17, 1998

Rural changes means more residents staying home, commuting afar

Fewer rural Ontario residents are working in the traditional agricultural fields, relying instead on home businesses, part-time work or out-of-town jobs to pay the bills, a first-ever study on Ontario's rural economy reveals.
"The workforce has become increasingly fragmented," said Prof. Tony Fuller, School of Rural Planning and Development at the University of Guelph. "There is a higher number of women in the workforce, part-time and casual occupations, a higher number of contractual and short-term occupations, and more self-employment. This is new to the rural area because it is traditionally agriculture, forestry and fishing."

Fuller researched families in Huron County for his "New Rural Economy" study. He found that 35 per cent of rural residents stay home, but many run non-farm businesses as well. "These factors reflect changes imposed on the rural society by current trends -- progressively less and less time is actually spent on the farm as family members are forced to seek employment from other sources, notably those much farther away."

Besides studying the effects of industrialization and globalization, Fuller sought to understand what the "New Rural Economy"is: who is working, what they do and where. Details such as multiple jobs, numbers of women or children working and who stays home to prepare meals were explored. Fuller's research will serve as part of a national study, and was sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and agencies in Huron County.

Contact: Tony Fuller, School of Rural Planning and Development, (519) 824-4120 Ext. 6783

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