About the Aboriginal children's survey

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The Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS) provides an extensive set of data about Aboriginal (Métis, Inuit, and off-reserve First Nations) children under six years of age in urban, rural, and northern locations across Canada. The Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS) was designed to provide a picture of the early development of Aboriginal children and the social and living conditions in which they are learning and growing.

The survey was developed by Statistics Canada and Aboriginal advisors from across the country and was conducted jointly with Human Resources and Social Development Canada.

The Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS) is a post-censal survey, that is, the sample was selected from children living in private households whose response on their 2006 Census questionnaire indicated that they:

  • had Aboriginal ancestors and / or
  • identified as North American Indian and / or Métis and / or Inuit, and / or
  • had treaty or registered Indian status and / or
  • had Indian Band membership.

While nationally the ACS covers First Nations children living off reserve, Métis children, and Inuit children, information was also collected in some First Nations communities in Quebec and in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Therefore, findings from the Aboriginal Chidren's Survey are not representative of all First Nations children living in Canada; however, they are representative of First Nations children (under 6 years) living off-reserve in the ten provinces and all First Nations children (under 6 years) in the territories. Additionally, non-Aboriginal children in the territories were included as part of the Survey of Northern Children. The focus of this analytical article is First Nations children living off reserve, Métis children, and Inuit children. A small number of Inuit and Métis children live on reserve and are not included in the ACS.

The Aboriginal identity definition is used in this report. For the ACS, children were identified by parents or guardians as North American Indian and / or Métis and / or Inuit. The term "First Nations children" is used throughout this report to refer to those children living off reserve who were identified as North American Indian.

It was possible to report both single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity question on the ACS (approximately 3% of children in the Aboriginal identity population of the ACS were identified with more than one group). In this publication, data represent a combination of both the single and multiple Aboriginal identity populations. As an example, the Métis data tables include those who were identified as Métis only and those identified as Métis in combination with another Aboriginal group (for example, Métis and North American Indian).

There are some instances where Census data is used in this report. In these cases, the single response Aboriginal identity population is used. Less than 1% of Aboriginal children under the age of six were identified as belonging to more than one Aboriginal group on the 2006 Census. Census counts have been used to describe the number of Inuit, Métis and off-reserve First Nations children rather than the counts stemming from the ACS for consistency with previously released Census data.

The Aboriginal Children's Survey (ACS) was conducted between October 2006 and March 2007. This report is based on information provided by parents or guardians of approximately 10,500 Aboriginal children under six years of age. Personal interviews were conducted in Inuit communities, the Northwest Territories (except for Yellowknife) and in other remote areas, while telephone interviews were conducted elsewhere. The overall response rate for the ACS was 81.1%.

More detailed information about the survey is available in the ACS 2006 Concepts and Methods Guide (catalogue number 89-634).