There is considerable variation in the rate of population growth, and in the interplay of these three components, across the Central Ontario Zone. The highest rates of growth in the most recent census period, as expected, are in the contiguous ring of suburbs around the City of Toronto (York, Peel, Durham, and Halton regions), in outlying urban nodes such as Barrie, Guelph, and Kitchener-Waterloo, and in a few smaller nodes. Most of the fourth subzone, and especially those districts located beyond a reasonable commuting radius from the urbanized core, such as Brant, Haldimand, Niagara, and the eastern counties, have shown relatively slow or zero growth, or even moderate decline.
The individual components of this growth also differ within the Central Ontario Zone. Table 2 summarizes census data on growth for the major urban nodes (the CMAs and larger CAs) in the Central Ontario Zone for 1996-2001, and, for the CMAs only, provides a measure of the relative contribution of domestic migration and immigration to overall growth. The Toronto CMA, and even more so the City of Toronto, loses population in the exchange of migrants with the rest of the country, but gains substantially from immigration. Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo CMAs also gain primarily from immigration rather than domestic migration, while Oshawa is the recipient of strong domestic migrant flows (primarily as suburban overspill from Toronto), but proportionally fewer immigrants.
Table 2: Population Growth in the Major Urban Nodes of the Central Ontario Zone, 1996-2001
2001 Total Population
Total Population Growth 1996-2001
Migration Rates (%)
St. Catharines CMA
Urban Area Totals
Urban Areas in Central Ontario Zone as % of Ontario
In = in-migrants; Out = out-migrants; Net = net domestic migration; Imm. = foreign immigration, as percentages of base year population
More detailed examination of the urbanized core suggests that while the inner subzone continues to benefit from international migration, it typically loses population through decentralization to the outlying urban centres and to the hinterland generally.8 The hinterland is not, at least up to the last census date, a primary destination for in-migrants from either outside the Central Ontario Zone or outside the country. The more peripheral parts of the hinterland, on balance, are net losers of population to the urbanized cores within the Central Ontario Zone.