Fact Sheet: 2006 Census Aboriginal Demographics

  • The Aboriginal identity population reached 1,172,785 in 2006 of which 53% are Registered Indians, 30% are Métis, 11% are Non-status Indians and 4% are Inuit. Overall the Aboriginal identity population represents 4% of the Canadian population.

  • Since 1996, the Aboriginal population has increased by 47% compared to 8% for non-Aboriginals.

  • Eight out of 10 Aboriginal people currently reside in Ontario and the four Western provinces.

  • Over half (54%) of Aboriginal people reside in urban areas (81% for non-Aboriginals). In major cities, the concentration of Aboriginal people is highest in Winnipeg (10%) followed by Regina and Saskatoon (9%).

  • Forty-eight percent of Aboriginal people are less than 25 years old (31% for non-Aboriginals). The median age of the Aboriginal population is 27 compared with 40 for non-Aboriginals.


  • The Aboriginal population aged 25-64 lags behind in educational attainment with 34% having less than high school (50% on reserve) compared with 15% of non-Aboriginals of the same age.

  • The Aboriginal population aged 25-64 with a university degree has increased slightly since 2001 (from 6% to 8%). However, they still lag far behind the non-Aboriginal population (23%) and the gap between the two populations continued to widen between 2001 and 2006.

Labour market activity

  • Since 2001, the Aboriginal population 15-64 yrs (i.e. of working age) increased by 25%, compared with 6% for other Canadians, to reach 767,420 individuals of which 512,365 participated in the labour force.

  • Since 2001, the employment rate for Aboriginal people aged 25-64 has increased (from 58% to 63%) but it still remains much lower than for non-Aboriginals (76%).

  • Despite an important decline since 2001, the unemployment rate for Aboriginal people aged 25-64 remains almost three times the rate for non-Aboriginals in 2006 (13% vs. 5%). It exceeds the national rate in every region.

  • Aboriginal youth represent a wealth of future labour resources. Between 2001 and 2026, more than 600,000 Aboriginal youth will come of age to enter the labour market. The 15-29 age group, in particular, is projected to grow by 37% compared with 6% for the general Canadian population (Hull, 2008).

  • By 2026, 36% of the population 15-29 years old in Saskatchewan is expected to be Aboriginal. In Manitoba, this proportion is projected to be 28% (Hull, 2008).


Hull, Jeremy. 2008. "Aboriginal Youth in the Canadian Labour Market."     p. 40-44 in: Hope or Heartbreak: Aboriginal Youth and Canada's Future, Horizons

Statistics Canada. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census. Catalogue no. 97-558-XIE.

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, INAC tabulations.