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Tuesday, January 13, 1998
For release at 8:30 a.m.
Statistics Canada today releases data on the Aboriginal population of Canada from the 1996 Census, the sixth of 11 announcements that are painting a new statistical portrait of the nation.
This report provides a profile of the 799,010 individuals who reported that they were North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, about 3% of Canada's total population. It contains information on the geographical distribution, size, age and language of this Aboriginal population. It also includes information on the proportion of Aboriginal children in lone-parent and common-law families.
As reported in the Census, about two-thirds of the Aboriginal population, or 554,000 people, were North American Indian, one-quarter or 210,000 were Métis and one in 20, or 41,000, were Inuit. These numbers slightly exceed the total Aboriginal population of 799,010 since a small number, about 6,400, reported that they considered themselves as members of more than one Aboriginal group.
The 1996 Census data cannot be compared to data from the 1991 Census and previous censuses. Prior to 1996, census data on Aboriginal persons were derived from a question that asked about their ethnic origin or ancestry. The 1996 Census included a new question that asked more directly if the person is an Aboriginal person, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. The ethnic origin question was modified in the 1996 Census, and detailed data from this question will be available in February.
Table: Aboriginal identity population(1) 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ Total Total Aboriginal population Aboriginal population population as % of total population ______________________________________________________________________________ % Canada 28,528,125 799,010 2.8 Newfoundland 547,160 14,205 2.6 Prince Edward Island 132,855 950 0.7 Nova Scotia 899,970 12,380 1.4 New Brunswick 729,630 10,250 1.4 Quebec 7,045,080 71,415 1.0 Ontario 10,642,790 141,525 1.3 Manitoba 1,100,295 128,685 11.7 Saskatchewan 976,615 111,245 11.4 Alberta 2,669,195 122,840 4.6 British Columbia 3,689,755 139,655 3.8 Yukon Territory 30,655 6,175 20.1 Northwest Territories 64,120 39,690 61.9 ______________________________________________________________________________ Geographic distribution of Aboriginal population ______________________________________________________________________________ % Canada 100.0 Newfoundland 1.8 Prince Edward Island 0.1 Nova Scotia 1.5 New Brunswick 1.3 Quebec 8.9 Ontario 17.7 Manitoba 16.1 Saskatchewan 13.9 Alberta 15.4 British Columbia 17.5 Yukon Territory 0.8 Northwest Territories 5.0 ______________________________________________________________________________ (1) The population who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group: North American Indian, Métis or Inuit.
The Aboriginal population in 1996 was 10 years younger on average than the general population. Over the next two decades, this will be reflected in large increases within the Aboriginal working-age population.
Almost one-third of all Aboriginal children under the age of 15 in Census families lived in a lone-parent family, twice the rate within the general population. The rate was even higher in urban areas. About 46% of Aboriginal children under 15 in Census families who lived in a census metropolitan area were in a lone-parent family.
In censuses previous to 1996, counts of Aboriginal persons were derived primarily from a question which asked respondents about their ancestry. (In 1991, the question was: "To which ethnic or cultural group(s) did this person's ancestors belong?") Respondents were asked to report as many origins, for example, French, English, German, North American Indian, and so on, as were applicable.
In a large-scale survey conducted as a follow-up to the 1991 Census, persons who reported Aboriginal ancestry were asked about their identity, that is, whether they considered themselves to be an Aboriginal person (North American Indian, Métis or Inuit). Among the slightly more than one million persons who reported at least some Aboriginal ancestry, 625,710 reported that they considered themselves to be North American Indian, Métis or Inuit.
The 1996 Census asked both an ancestry and an identity question. The latter ("Is this person an Aboriginal person, that is, North American, Indian, Métis or Inuit (Eskimo)?") was used to compile the data provided in this report. For this reason, the 1996 data cannot be compared directly with the ancestry-based data from previous censuses.
In 1996, 1,101,960 people reported Aboriginal ancestry, either as a single response (477,630) or as part of a multiple response (624,330). Some 867,225 reported North American Indian ancestry, 220,740 reported Métis and 49,845 Inuit. The counts based on identity were 210,055 for Métis, 41,085 for Inuit and 535,075 for North American Indian. (Note: There were another 19,220 persons who were registered Indians or members of an Indian band or First Nation, but who did not report identity).
Finally, it should be noted that comparisons of the 1996 Aboriginal ancestry data with data from previous censuses must be made with caution, since changes to the wording of the 1996 question, in particular the inclusion of Canadian among the examples of answer categories listed on the census questionnaire, may have had an impact on the pattern of responses for aboriginal ancestry.
One-quarter of the Aboriginal population reported that they had an Aboriginal language as mother tongue. Cree was the largest Aboriginal mother tongue. The number of people who could speak an Aboriginal language was about 10% higher than the number who reported an Aboriginal mother tongue, indicating that a significant number of persons learned such a language later in life.
Ontario had more North American Indians than any other province. Alberta had the largest Métis population, while the Northwest Territories had the largest Inuit population. Over a quarter of all the Aboriginal people in Canada lived in census metropolitan areas. The census metropolitan area of Winnipeg, for example, had more Aboriginal people than the entire Northwest Territories.
Further data on education, housing and labour force activities of the Aboriginal population will be available over the next several months as soon as this information has been processed.
Although the Atlantic provinces and Quebec accounted for one-third of the total population of Canada, they were home to only 14% of Canada's Aboriginal population in 1996. The highest concentrations of Aboriginal people were in the North and on the Prairies. More than four out of every five Aboriginal persons lived west of Quebec.
Ontario and British Columbia both had about 140,000 Aboriginal people, highest among the provinces, although they represented only 4% of British Columbia's total population and 1% of Ontario's.
Manitoba was in third place with 128,685 Aboriginal people. They represented 12% of Manitoba's population, the highest proportion among the provinces. Aboriginal people accounted for 11% of Saskatchewan's population, and 5% of Alberta's.
Table: Aboriginal identity population(1) 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ North2 Métis2 Inuit2 American Indian ______________________________________________________________________________ Canada 554,290 210,190 41,080 Newfoundland 5,430 4,685 4,265 Prince Edward Island 825 120 15 Nova Scotia 11,340 860 210 New Brunswick 9,180 975 120 Quebec 47,600 16,075 8,300 Ontario 118,830 22,790 1,300 Manitoba 82,990 46,195 360 Saskatchewan 75,205 36,535 190 Alberta 72,645 50,745 795 British Columbia 113,315 26,750 815 Yukon Territory 5,530 565 110 Northwest Territories 11,400 3,895 24,600 ______________________________________________________________________________ (1) The population who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group: North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. (2) Single and multiple responses have been combined.
The highest concentrations by far were in the North. The 39,690 Aboriginal people in the Northwest Territories represented 62% of its total population. There were 6,175 Aboriginal people in the Yukon, representing 20% of its population.
About three of every 10 Aboriginal people lived on rural reserves, and another three in 10 lived in census metropolitan areas. One-quarter lived in urban areas other than census metropolitan areas, and one-fifth in rural areas other than reserves, often isolated northern communities.
Aboriginal population: In this release, refers to those people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. Also included are all those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, as well as members of an Indian Band or First Nation.
Registered Indian: Those people who reported that they were registered under the Indian Act of Canada.
North American Indian population: Those people who reported that they were North American Indian, either in a single or multiple response, in the Aboriginal identity question (question 18), as well as persons who did not report an Aboriginal group in question 18, but who were Registered Indians or members of an Indian Band or First Nation.
Métis population: Those people who reported that they were Métis, either in a single or multiple response, in the Aboriginal identity question (question 18).
Inuit population: Those people who reported that they were Inuit, either in a single or multiple response, in the Aboriginal identity question (question 18).
Mother tongue: The first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the census.
Home language: The language spoken most often at home by the individual at the time of the census.
Census families: are divided into those formed by couples and those headed by a lone parent. Married couples and common-law couples are considered families whether or not they have never-married sons or daughters living with them. Now-married and common-law couples comprise husband-and-wife families.
A lone parent, of any marital status, living with one or more never-married sons or daughters, also constitutes a family.
About one-fifth of Aboriginal people, or 171,000, lived in seven of the country's 25 census metropolitan areas in 1996 -- Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Toronto, Calgary and Regina.
Winnipeg had the highest Aboriginal population at almost 46,000, more than the entire Northwest Territories. Winnipeg was followed by Edmonton, with almost 33,000 and Vancouver with slightly more than 31,000.
Table: Aboriginal identity population in selected census metropolitan areas(1) 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ Total Total Aboriginal population Aboriginal population population as % of total population ______________________________________________________________________________ Toronto 4,232,905 16,100 0.4 Winnipeg 660,055 45,750 6.9 Regina 191,480 13,605 7.1 Saskatoon 216,445 16,160 7.5 Calgary(2) 815,985 15,200 1.9 Edmonton 854,230 32,825 3.8 Vancouver(2) 1,813,935 31,140 1.7 ______________________________________________________________________________ (1) The population who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group: North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. (2) These CMAs contain, within their boundaries, Indian reserves which were incompletely enumerated during the 1996 Census. Consequently, their counts of North American Indians are affected by this incomplete enumeration.
Aboriginal people accounted for 7.5% of Saskatoon's population, the highest proportion of any census metropolitan area, as well as about 7% each for Regina and Winnipeg. In contrast, they represented only 1.7% of the population of Vancouver, Canada's third largest census metropolitan area.
Aboriginal people represented less than 1% of the population in Canada's two largest census metropolitan areas, Toronto and Montreal. Nevertheless, because of its size, Toronto had the fifth highest number of Aboriginal people among the census metropolitan areas.
Urban centres had significantly higher shares of Aboriginal people among the younger age groups. This was especially true in the Western census metropolitan areas. For example, Aboriginal children under 15 accounted for 12% of youngsters in this age group in Winnipeg, 13% in Regina and 13% in Saskatoon.
The average age of the Aboriginal population in 1996 was 25.5 years, 10 years younger than the average of 35.4 years in the general population.
Children under 15 accounted for 35% of all Aboriginal people, compared with only 20% of Canada's total population. Children in this age group accounted for 38% of all Aboriginal people on rural reserves, the highest share for any geographical area, compared with 32% in census metropolitan areas.
The proportion of young people aged 15 to 24 was also greater among the Aboriginal population than in the total population. These young people represented almost one-fifth (18%) of all age groups within the Aboriginal population, compared with 13% in the general population.
With such concentrations in the younger age groups, there were relatively fewer Aboriginal people in older age groups. For example, only 4% of the Aboriginal population was aged 65 and over, compared with 12% of the general population.
Table: Aboriginal identity population, by age (1) 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ Total Total Aboriginal population Aboriginal population population as % of total population ______________________________________________________________________________ Total 28,528,125 799,010 2.8 0-4 1,917,425 99,330 5.2 5-9 1,989,800 95,340 4.8 10-14 1,991,980 85,745 4.3 15-19 1,956,115 74,755 3.8 20-24 1,892,910 69,040 3.6 25-34 4,481,320 135,900 3.0 35-44 4,843,030 107,710 2.2 45-54 3,697,965 65,260 1.8 55-64 2,477,815 37,615 1.5 65 and over 3,279,770 28,315 0.9 ______________________________________________________________________________ Aboriginal groups 3 _______________________ _______________________________________________ North2,4 Métis2 Inuit2 American Indian ______________________________________________________________________________ Total - Age groups 554,290 210,190 41,080 0-4 70,825 22,955 6,225 5-9 68,110 22,025 5,975 10-14 60,575 21,050 4,755 15-19 51,255 20,130 4,045 20-24 47,475 18,390 3,690 25-34 94,070 36,050 6,900 35-44 73,230 31,230 4,180 45-54 43,675 19,590 2,580 55-64 25,535 10,760 1,720 65 and over 19,540 8,005 1,015 ______________________________________________________________________________ (1) The population who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group: North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. (2) Single and multiple responses have been combined. (3) These numbers do not equal the total Aboriginal population because 6,415 persons reported identifying with more than one group. (4) The counts of North American Indians may be more affected than the other groups by the incomplete enumeration of 77 Indian reserves and settlements in the 1996 Census.
Although the total Aboriginal population represented about 3% of Canada's total population, Aboriginal children under age 15 comprised 5% of all youngsters in this age group. In both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Aboriginal children under 15 accounted for 20% of all youngsters in this age group. It is projected that they could account for up to 25% by the year 2016 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The proportions of Aboriginal children under 15 were especially high in the Northwest Territories. Aboriginal youngsters represented 75% of all children under 15 in the Northwest Territories, and 26% in the Yukon.
Although the fertility rate among the Aboriginal population is declining, the Aboriginal population continues to grow more rapidly than the total population. Census data showed that there were 491 Aboriginal children aged under five for every 1,000 Aboriginal women of childbearing age in 1996. This was about 70% higher than the ratio for the total population, which was 290 children per 1,000 women.
Given the number of young children, large increases will occur in the next decade in the Aboriginal youth population aged 15 to 24. In 1996, there were about 144,000 in this age group. By 2006, it is projected to reach 181,000, up 26%. The associated increase in Aboriginal women of childbearing age will result in continued large numbers of Aboriginal children being born.
Similarly, over the next two decades, other segments of the Aboriginal adult population are expected to increase significantly, particularly those aged 35 to 54 who comprise the majority of the working-age population. By 2006, this group is expected to grow from 173,000 to 244,000, a 41% increase. By 2016, it is projected to reach 280,000, up 62% over 1996.
Large proportional increases are also expected for the Aboriginal population aged 65 and over, although the numbers involved are much smaller. There were about 28,000 Aboriginal seniors in 1996.
Almost one-third (32%) of Aboriginal children under the age of 15 in Census families lived in a lone-parent family in 1996, twice the rate within the general population. Less than half (43%) in this age group lived in a married couple family, while one-quarter lived in a common-law couple family. Not all Aboriginal persons under 15 lived in Census families. About 11% did not live with their parents. The share of those under 15 living in a common-law couple family was almost 2½ times the rate within the general population.
Aboriginal children in Census families were much more likely to be in a lone-parent family if they lived in one of Canada's census metropolitan areas. In Winnipeg, Regina, and Saskatoon, for example, about half lived with a single parent. As a result, about 30% of all children in lone-parent families in these cities were Aboriginal children.Chart: Proportion of children aged 0-14, by family structure, 1996
About 207,000 individuals, or just over one-quarter of the Aboriginal population, reported that they had an Aboriginal language as mother tongue, that is, it was the first language they learned at home in childhood. However, only 15% of the entire Aboriginal population, or about 120,000 people, reported that they actually spoke an Aboriginal language at home.Chart: Aboriginal identity population with a knowledge of an Aboriginal language, with area of residence, 1996
On the other hand, 234,000 people, or 29% of the population, reported that they were able to carry on a conversation in an Aboriginal language. This proportion varied greatly by Aboriginal group. Almost three-quarters of those who identified as Inuit reported an ability to conduct a conversation in Inuktitut, the largest proportion within the three groups. In contrast, 35% of North American Indians reported an ability to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language, as did 9% of Métis.
The ability to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language was more common among older Aboriginal people. About one-quarter (26%) of Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 reported an ability to converse in an Aboriginal language, compared with 30% of Aboriginal adults aged 25 to 34. Knowledge of an Aboriginal language was most common among those aged 55 years and over. One-half of this group were able to converse in an Aboriginal language.
Knowledge of an Aboriginal language was most widespread on Indian reserves and settlements (56%), and lowest in urban areas, both in census metropolitan areas (11%) and other urban areas (18%).
Among Aboriginal languages reported as mother tongue, the largest group was Cree, reported by 10% of the Aboriginal population, or just over 76,000 individuals. It was followed by Inuktitut, reported by 3.4%, and Ojibway 2.8%. However, the majority of Aboriginal people, about 68%, reported English as mother tongue, while 6% reported French. Data on Iroquois mother tongues such as Mohawk were incomplete as several large Iroquois reserves in Ontario and Quebec were among those not enumerated in the Census.
Almost 27,000 people reported Inuktitut as mother tongue, about two-thirds of the Inuit population. About 9,000 children under the age of 15, more than half (55%) of the Inuit population in that age group, spoke Inuktitut at home.
Nearly half (47%) of the Aboriginal population in Quebec reported an Aboriginal language as mother tongue, the highest proportion of any province. Of those individuals, one-third reported Cree as mother tongue, 22% Inuktitut and 22% Montagnais-Naskapi. In contrast, only 17% of Aboriginal people in Ontario reported having an Aboriginal mother tongue. Of these, half reported Ojibway.
Table: Aboriginal identity population by mother tongue (1) 1996 ______________________________________________________________________________ Mother tongue Number % ______________________________________________________________________________ Single responses English 542,020 67.8 French 45,955 5.8 Cree 76,475 9.6 Inuktitut 26,840 3.4 Ojibway 22,625 2.8 Montagnais-Naskapi 8,745 1.1 Micmac 6,720 0.8 Dakota/Sioux 4,020 0.5 Blackfoot 3,450 0.4 South Slave 2,425 0.3 Salish languages 2,520 0.3 Wakashan languages 1,360 0.2 Other Aboriginal single responses 30,785 3.9 Multiple Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal responses 21,320 2.7 Other single or multiple responses 3,750 0.5 ______________________________________________________________________________ (1) The population who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group: North American Indian, Métis or Inuit.
The four Atlantic provinces were home to 37,795 Aboriginal people in 1996. Aboriginal people made up about 3% of the total population in Newfoundland and Labrador, but only 1% in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
North American Indians accounted for two-thirds of the Aboriginal people who lived in Atlantic Canada, Métis represented about 18% and Inuit 12%.
The Census enumerated 71,415 Aboriginal people in Quebec, or 9% of Canada's Aboriginal population. However, it should be noted that several large reserves in Quebec were not enumerated in the 1996 Census.
Aboriginal people accounted for only 1% of Quebec's total population. North American Indians made up about 67% of these Aboriginal people, Métis about 22%, and Inuit 12%. Quebec's Inuit population of 8,300 is the second-largest in the country, representing about one-fifth of the total Inuit population.
The Census enumerated 141,525 Aboriginal people in Ontario, the highest number of any province. They accounted for 18% of Canada's Aboriginal population. In comparison, Ontario is home to about one-third of the total Canadian population.
North American Indians accounted for fully 83% of Ontario's Aboriginal population, while Métis comprised 16% and Inuit less than 1%. As in Quebec, several large reserves were not enumerated.
About 63% of all Aboriginal people lived in the four western provinces, compared with 30% of all Canadians. Combined, the four provinces were home to 62% of Canada's North American Indians. British Columbia was home to 113,000, second to Ontario. The next largest populations of North American Indians, after British Columbia, were in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Almost two-thirds (64%) of Canada's total Métis population of 210,000 lived in the three Prairie provinces. Alberta had the most, 51,000, followed by Manitoba with 46,000. Métis accounted for 41% of the Aboriginal population in Alberta, about 36% in Manitoba and 33% in Saskatchewan. British Columbia also had a substantial Métis population, with 27,000, or 13% of all Métis in Canada.
Inuit people represented less than 1% of all Aboriginal people in the West. A total of only 2,200 Inuit lived in the four Western provinces, about 5% of the Canadian total.
The Yukon and Northwest Territories were home to 45,865 Aboriginal people, or 6% of the total Aboriginal population. North American Indians accounted for about 37% of the Aboriginal people who lived in the two territories. However, their proportion was much higher in the Yukon, at 90%, than the Northwest Territories, at 29%.
Métis represented about one-tenth of the total Aboriginal population of each of the territories. Almost all of the remainder in the Yukon were North American Indian. The Northwest Territories had the largest Inuit population in Canada at 24,505, or about 60% of the total Inuit population.
About 42% of Aboriginal people in the Yukon lived in Whitehorse, while 9% of those in the Northwest Territories lived in Yellowknife.
For more information on this release, contact Media Relations at (613) 951-4636.
The objective of every Census is to provide detailed information at a single point in time on the demographic, social and economic conditions of the population. One of its goals is to enumerate the entire population on Census Day. Inevitably, however, some people are not counted, for example, if their household did not receive a Census questionnaire. Some individuals may be missed because they have no usual residence, or because they did not spend census night in any dwelling. This is termed undercoverage.
Undercoverage in the 1996 Census was considerably higher among Aboriginal people than among other segments of the population due to the fact that enumeration was not permitted, or was interrupted before it could be completed, on 77 Indian reserves and settlements. These geographic areas are called incompletely enumerated Indian reserves and settlements.
Data are not available for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements, and these reserves and settlements are not included in tabulations. While the impact of the missing data tends to be small for national-level and most provincial-level statistics, it can be significant for some smaller areas.
In 1996, an estimated 44,000 people were living on reserves and settlements that were incompletely enumerated. Most of these people were Registered Indians. Consequently, the impact of incomplete enumeration will be greatest on data for North American Indians and for persons registered under the Indian Act.
Incomplete enumeration and undercoverage account for most of the difference between the Census count of persons registered under the Indian Act (about 488,000) and that produced by the Indian Register maintained by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (about 601,000). Methodological differences, as well as differences in concepts and definitions between the two sources, also account for a smaller part of the difference. The two sources have very different purposes and, given the coverage and other differences, are not directly comparable.
Statistics Canada has started consultations on 2001 Census content and post-censal survey topics. For information write : 2001 Census Content Determination Project, Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6. Internet : firstname.lastname@example.org
February 17, 1998 Ethnic origin, visible minorities March 17, 1998 Labour activities, occupation and industry, household activities, place April 14, 1998 Education, mobility and migration May 12, 1998 Sources of income, family and household income June 9, 1998 Families: social and economic characteristics, occupied private June 9, 1998 Families: social and economic characteristics, occupied private
The 1996 Census products released containing data on Canada's Aboriginal population are:
From The Nation series: 7 tables, which provide data for Canada, provinces and territories, and in some cases for census metropolitan areas (catalogue no. 93F0025XDB96000). The price for the set (or any subset) of tables is $60. Extracts from four of these tables will be available free of charge on the Statistics Canada Internet site (www.statcan.ca) under 1996 Census.
From the Area Profiles series: electronic area profiles for census divisions and census subdivisions. Profiles for the remaining geographic levels - CMA/tracted CA/CT, CMA/CA, FED (1987 and 1996 Representation Orders)/EA, and FSA - will be released on February 13, 1998. Prices for area profiles vary depending on the format and geographic level required by the user.
For further information, contact your nearest Statistics Canada Regional Reference Centre.