2006 Aboriginal Population Profiles for Selected Cities and Communities: Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces

    La Tuque

    2006 Aboriginal Population Profile for La Tuque

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    by Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division Analysts


    This report examines the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the Aboriginal population living in the census agglomeration (CA) of La Tuque,1 Quebec. The census agglomeration of La Tuque includes the Atikamekw d'Opitciwan (Obedjiwan) and the Conseil des Atikamekw de Wemotaci (Coucoucache and Wemotaci). The 2006 Census and 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), which provide an extensive set of data about Aboriginal people, are the data sources. Additional data for La Tuque which exclude the three Indian reserves are included in Appendix 2.

    The report focuses on the Aboriginal identity population, which refers to those people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.

    The term 'First Nations' is used throughout the report to refer to people who identified as North American Indian. The term 'Aboriginal population' is used to refer to the Aboriginal identity population.

    Setting the context

    There were 1,172,790 Aboriginal people in Canada in 2006, accounting for 3.8% of Canada's total population. A total of 108,430 Aboriginal people lived in the province of Quebec, representing 1% of the provincial population.

    The census agglomeration of La Tuque included 3,515 Aboriginal people in 2006. Almost one in four (23%) people in La Tuque were Aboriginal.

    Between 2001 and 2006, the Aboriginal population in La Tuque grew by 10%, from 3,205 to 3,515 people.2 The First Nations population of La Tuque grew by 12% over this time period, while the smaller Métis population showed a decline of 21%.

    First Nations—largest Aboriginal group in La Tuque

    In 2006, 3,200 persons living in La Tuque identified as First Nations, accounting for 91% of the city's Aboriginal population. Another 245 identified as Métis,3 representing 7% of the Aboriginal population. The remaining 2% reported multiple or other Aboriginal responses.4

    The vast majority (98%) of all First Nations people living in La Tuque reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada.

    About the data sources

    The census provides a statistical portrait of Canada and its people. The most recent census was on May 16, 2006.

    The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) was conducted between October 2006 and March 2007. The survey provides extensive data on Inuit, Métis and off-reserve First Nations children aged 6 to 14 and those aged 15 and over living in urban, rural and northern locations across Canada. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey was designed to provide data on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people in Canada (excluding reserves).

    It was possible to report both single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity questions on the census and the Aboriginal Peoples Survey. Census data used in this article for First Nations people, Métis and Inuit are based on the single responses only. Total Aboriginal identity population counts include people, who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, and/or those who reported being a registered or Treaty Indian, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey data represent a combination of both the single and multiple Aboriginal identity populations.

    Data have been provided for the total Aboriginal identity population and in some cases they have been broken down by Aboriginal group, sex and age group. For Aboriginal groups where the census count of the population aged 15 years and over is 200 or less, only the census count has been provided. No further data are shown due to potential data quality issues that can result from small counts that arise when several variables are cross-tabulated.

    A young population

    The Aboriginal population living in La Tuque is much younger than the non-Aboriginal population. In 2006, the median age5 of the Aboriginal population in La Tuque was 23 years, compared to 46 years for the non-Aboriginal population.

    In 2006, over half (54%) of the Aboriginal population was under the age of 25, compared to about a quarter (24%) of non-Aboriginal people. Furthermore, only 5% of Aboriginal people were 65 years and over, compared to 18% of the non-Aboriginal population. Over a third (35%) of Aboriginal people in La Tuque were children under the age of 15, compared to 13% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts (see chart 1). For more details on the age distribution, see Table 1 in Appendix 1.

    Aboriginal children aged 14 years and under represented 45% of the city's children. Over a third (36%) of First Nations people in La Tuque were 14 years of age and under. For the Métis population, 16% were aged 14 and under.

    Chart 1 Population pyramid for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations, La Tuque, 2006

    Aboriginal children more likely than non-Aboriginal children to live with a lone parent

    In 2006, about two thirds of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under (65%) lived with both parents. Compared with their non-Aboriginal peers, Aboriginal children were more likely to live with a lone parent (29% versus 16%) (see Table 2 in Appendix 1).

    Aboriginal youth less likely to be attending school

    Overall, in 2006, Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 living in La Tuque had lower school attendance rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts (36% versus 65%) (see Table 3 in Appendix 1).6

    The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey found that among the Aboriginal population in the province of Quebec (excluding reserves), men and women had different reasons for not completing high school. For young Aboriginal men aged 15 to 34, the most commonly reported reason was 'wanted to work'. The most common reasons given by Aboriginal women in the same age group included 'pregnancy/taking care of children', 'wanted to work', 'bored with school', and 'bad results in school'.

    Almost four in 10 Aboriginal adults have completed postsecondary education

    Almost four in 10 Aboriginal men (38%) and women (37%) aged 25 to 64 had completed postsecondary education compared to over five in 10 (59% and 52%, respectively) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Postsecondary education includes a trades certificate, a college diploma or a university certificate, diploma or degree. Aboriginal men were more likely than Aboriginal women to have completed their postsecondary schooling with a trades credential. Aboriginal women were more likely to have college credentials than their male counterparts (see Text table 1).

    In 2006, over half of Aboriginal men (56%) and Aboriginal women (52%) 25 to 64 years of age had less than a high school education, compared to 22% and 23%, respectively, of their non-Aboriginal male and female counterparts.

    Text table 1 Highest level of educational attainment of people aged 25 to 64 years, by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal identity and sex, La Tuque, 2006

    Employment rate lower among Aboriginal people

    In 2006, the employment rate7 for Aboriginal people aged 25 to 54 living in La Tuque was 54.9%. First Nations adults had an employment rate of 54.7%. These rates were lower than that of the non-Aboriginal population (76.5%) (see Table 4 in Appendix 1).

    Small gap for full-time full-year workers

    The proportion of Aboriginal people living in La Tuque who worked full time full year8 in 2005 was about one in four (26%). The proportion of First Nations adults working full time full year was also one in four (25%). These proportions were slightly lower that of the non-Aboriginal population (29%).

    Aboriginal men and women had a similar likelihood of being full-time full-year workers. This is in contrast to the non-Aboriginal population: non-Aboriginal men were more likely to work full time full year compared to non-Aboriginal women (37% compared to 22%) (see Text table 2).

    Text table 2 Percentage of full-time full-year workers, by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal identity and sex, La Tuque, 2005

    Occupations in 'sales and services' most prevalent

    In studying the labour market of a given area, it is helpful to examine its occupational9 make-up. In 2006, the most common occupational category10 for both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experienced labour forces in La Tuque was 'sales and service'.

    In 2006, Aboriginal people were more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to work in 'occupations in social science, education, government service and religion' (19% versus 9%) and in 'occupations unique to primary industry' (10% versus 3%). Aboriginal people were less likely than non-Aboriginal people to work in 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations' (15% versus 21%) and in 'occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities' (5% versus 12%) (see Table 5 in Appendix 1).

    Earnings lower for Aboriginal people

    In 2005, the median earnings11 of full-time full-year Aboriginal earners in La Tuque (measured in 2005 dollars) was $28,700 for Aboriginal men. This was lower than the median earnings for non-Aboriginal men ($46,800). The median earnings for Aboriginal women was $28,500 in 2005. Aboriginal women earned about 96% of what their non-Aboriginal counterparts were earning, while Aboriginal men were earning about 61% of what non-Aboriginal men were earning in 2005 (see Table 6 in Appendix 1).

    Total income lower for Aboriginal people

    The census collects a number of measures of income that help in understanding the economic situation of a population. Earnings data have been provided for the population working full time full year in 2005. It is also useful to look at total income12 as sources of income go beyond that of employment. In 2005, about one in 10 (12%) Aboriginal people with income in La Tuque had a total income of about $40,000 or over compared to one in four (25%) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In 2005, Aboriginal men had the lowest median income ($12,800), whether compared to Aboriginal women ($16,200), to non-Aboriginal men ($33,400) or to non-Aboriginal women ($15,800) (see Table 7 in Appendix 1).

    Additionally, in La Tuque, 11% of the Aboriginal population aged 15 years and over and 7% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts reported having no income in 2005 (data not shown).

    More than seven in 10 Aboriginal people in La Tuque lived at same address in 2001 and 2006

    On May 16, 2006 (the date of the 2006 Census) there were 3,515 Aboriginal people living in the census agglomeration of La Tuque. This count does not include all of the Aboriginal people who may have lived in La Tuque at some point during the year, but only those who were living in La Tuque on that particular day.13

    More than seven in 10 (72%) Aboriginal people living in La Tuque on May 16, 2006 had lived at the same address five years before, a figure comparable to that of the non-Aboriginal population (71%). Between 2001 and 2006, about two in 10 (21%) Aboriginal people had moved at least once within La Tuque and less than one in 10 (7%) had moved to La Tuque from another community. A community may refer to another municipality, a reserve, or a rural area (see Table 8 in Appendix 1).

    When asked on the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey why they moved to their current city, town or community, most Aboriginal people aged 15 and over in the Atlantic provinces (excluding reserves) reported family-related reasons, followed by work-related reasons.

    Improvements in housing conditions

    In La Tuque, two in 10 (20%) Aboriginal people lived in homes requiring major repairs14 in 2006, a decrease from the percentage reported in 2001 (28%). In comparison, the share of La Tuque's non-Aboriginal population living in dwellings in need of major repairs was 8% in 2006 and 10% in 2001 (see Table 9 in Appendix 1).

    The share of Aboriginal people living in crowded15 homes was 29% in 2006, a slight decrease from the 32% reported in 2001. The comparable rates for the non-Aboriginal population were less than 1% in both 2006 and 2001.

    Majority report being healthy

    Over half of First Nations adults (the population aged 15 and over) living off-reserve in the province of Quebec16 rated their health as excellent or very good in 2006. When asked as part of the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey whether their health was excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, 57% of off-reserve First Nations adults gave themselves a rating of excellent or very good. A further 26% reported that their health was good. For Métis adults, almost six in 10 (58%) reported excellent or very good health, and an additional 25% rated their health as good.

    Over half live with one or more chronic conditions

    The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey also inquired about chronic conditions17 that had been diagnosed by a health professional. About half of Métis (53%) and off-reserve First Nations (49%) adults living in the province of Quebec reported that they had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. Among the Métis, respiratory problems18 was the most commonly reported condition, affecting 22% of adults, followed by high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (21%) and arthritis or rheumatism (18%). Among the First Nations adult population living off reserve in the province of Quebec, the most frequently reported conditions were: high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (19%), respiratory problems (19%), and arthritis or rheumatism (18%).


    1. The geographic area covered in this report is the census agglomeration (CA) of La Tuque. A census agglomeration must have an urban core population of at least 10,000. For maps, see: map.
    2. Comparison of 2006 Census data with 2001: La Tuque is one of the census agglomerations (CAs) that has different geographical boundaries in 2006 as compared to 2001. In order to facilitate data comparisons, the 2001 data have been adjusted to reflect as closely as possible the 2006 census metropolitan area (CMA) and CA boundaries. In 2006, the CA of La Tuque had five census subdivisions (CSD), three of which were Indian reserves: Coucoucache (Indian reserve), La Bostonnais (municipality), La Tuque (city), Obedjiwan (Indian reserve), and Wemotaci (Indian reserve). In 2001, the CA of La Tuque had three census subdivisions: La Bostonnais (municipality), La Croche (municipality), and La Tuque (city).
    3. Of the 245 people who identified as Métis, 205 were in the 15 and over age group.
    4. Includes people who reported more than one Aboriginal identity group and those who reported being a registered or Treaty Indian and/or member of an Indian band or First Nation without reporting an Aboriginal identity.
    5. The median age is the point where exactly one-half of the population is older and the other half is younger.
    6. A new version of the school attendance question was used in the 2006 Census. Studies on data certification showed important variations with previous censuses and with the Labour Force Survey. It appears that the 2006 Census could have overestimated the school attendance for the population aged 45 years or over. We recommend users of the attendance at school variable interpret the 2006 Census results with caution. For more details on the changes to the questionnaire for the Education module, see: Census questions on education: Some important changes.
    7. The employment rate refers to the number of employed people, in a given group, as a percentage of the total population in that group.
    8. The term 'full-time full-year workers' refers to persons 15 years of age and over who worked 49 to 52 weeks (mostly full time) in 2005 for pay or in self-employment.
    9. Occupation refers to the kind of work persons were doing during the reference week, as determined by their kind of work and the description of the main activities in their job. If the person did not have a job during the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to enumeration, the data relate to the job of longest duration since January 1, 2005. Persons with two or more jobs were to report the information for the job at which they worked the most hours.
    10. Occupations contained within the categories can cover a broad range of skill levels. For example, the business and finance occupation category includes professional occupations requiring a university degree, as well as clerical occupations that require a high school diploma or equivalent.
    11. Median earnings are earnings levels that divide the population into two halves, i.e., half of the population receiving less than this amount, and half, more. Earnings or employment income refers to the income received by persons 15 years of age and over during calendar year 2005 as wages and salaries, net income from a non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice, and/or net farm self-employment income.
    12. Total income refers to the total money income received from the following sources during calendar year 2005 by persons 15 years of age and over: wages and salaries (total), net farm income, net non-farm income from unincorporated business and/or professional practice, child benefits, Old Age Security Pension and Guaranteed Income Supplement, benefits from Canada or Quebec Pension Plan, benefits from Employment Insurance, other income from government sources, dividends, interest on bonds, deposits and savings certificates, and other investment income, retirement pensions, superannuation and annuities, including those from registered retirement savings plans (RRSPs) and registered retirement income funds (RRIFs), other money income.
    13. For example, students who return to live with their parents during the year are included at their parents' address, even if they lived elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.
    14. Dwellings in need of major repairs are those that, in the judgment of the respondent, require major repairs to such things as defective plumbing or electrical wiring, and/or structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings, etc.
    15. Crowding is defined as more than one person per room. Not counted as rooms are bathrooms, halls, vestibules and rooms used solely for business purposes.
    16. Data on health is not available for La Tuque so provincial level data has been provided.
    17. Chronic conditions were those that had lasted or were expected to last six months or more and had been diagnosed by a health professional.
    18. Respiratory problems include asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
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