The Canadian farm population totalled 650,395 persons in 2011, accounting for 1 out of every 50 Canadians.
Results from the Agriculture–National Household Survey (Ag-NHS) linkage show that Ontario had the largest farm population at 174,905 in 2011, representing 26.9% of the national total. Alberta was home to 20.0% of the total, followed by 16.0% in Saskatchewan and 15.6% in Quebec.
The average household size in the Canadian farm population in 2011 was 2.9 persons, compared with 2.5 persons in private households in the total population.
The median income for economic families in the farm population was $74,604 in 2010, similar to the median income of $76,458 in the total population.
Immigrants represented 6.9% of the farm population, compared with the 20.7% immigrant share of the total population. Ontario not only had the largest farm population, but also the highest number of immigrants in the farm population, almost 15,000, representing 8.6% of the provincial farm population. British Columbia, in turn, was the province with the largest proportion of immigrants in its farm population at 19.8%.
The top three places of birth reported by the immigrant farm population in 2011 were the Netherlands (19.4%), the United Kingdom (14.8%) and the United States (12.8%). In comparison, the three most frequently reported places of birth for immigrants in the total population were India, China and the United Kingdom. Over one-third of the immigrant farm population (34.4%) arrived in Canada prior to 1971, compared with 18.6% of immigrants in the total population. Among more recent arrivals, 31.8% of immigrants in the total population came to Canada between 2001 and 2011, compared with 14.6% of the immigrant farm population.
Canadian farm operators
Canada had 292,795 farm operators in the Ag-NHS database in 2011. Male operators totalled 212,185, or 72.5%, while female operators totalled 80,605, or 27.5%. British Columbia reported the largest proportion of female operators at 36.5%.
The median age of farm operators in 2011 was 54 years, compared with 49 years for the total self-employed labour force. In 2011, 48.2% of farm operators were aged 55 or older, compared with 33.2% of the total self-employed labour force.
Over half of farm operators in 2011 had completed post-secondary education (51.6%), compared with 65.8% of the self-employed labour force. The proportion of farm operators completing post-secondary education was larger for female operators (58.8%) than male operators (48.9%). Of the 24,055 operators under the age of 35 in the Ag-NHS database, 59.5% reported post-secondary education.