Department of Geography and Environmental Studies

Tobi Leanne Hemphill, 1996

Rural Service Provision and Depopulation Along Highway 7, Halifax County, Nova Scotia


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between the provision of services to rural communities and rural depopulation. Nineteen services were looked at in the study. The distance from each of the twenty-nine communities in the study area to the nearest service was then measured. A histogram and simple regression was then created for each of the services against percent population change. It was found that some of the simple regressions showed signs of having a negative exponential relationship with percent population change. The log of percent population change was then taken and those services which appeared to have such a relationship were regraphed against the log.

It was found that the distance of a community from Halifax was important to its degree of isolation. This variable was so important that residuals were calculated for it and each of the other services were compared to it through a simple regression and correlation. Distance from a convenience store and gas station were also found to be fairly important when compared to the residuals from distance to Halifax, with strong negative correlation coefficients. While eating establishments and legions were found to have an unexpected high positive correlation. These factors were then used to create a composite index of isolation with distance to Halifax being weighted highly. In this index the higher the value the more isolated the settlement. The purpose of this index was to aid in the prediction of population change, specifically that of depopulation.