Registered Indian Demography - Population, Household and Family Projections, 2004-2029

Author: INAC Strategic Research and Analysis Directorate - CMHC Policy and Research Division
ISBN: 978-0-662-49807-0
QS- QS-7086-000-BB-A1

PDF Version   (540 Kb, 1 page)

 

The Importance of Demographic Projections

Population, household and family projections are an important planning tool and one of the most frequently requested pieces of information by all levels of government and non-academic organizations. Demographic projections are needed to plan for future health care needs, education, family services, housing requirements, water and sewer services and a variety of other community services. Using recent trends and research regarding REGISTERED INDIANS, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) in collaboration with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has updated the projections for the REGISTERED INDIAN population, households and families.

Projection Model and Growth Components

The projection model is based on the cohort component method (by age and gender) to forecast future REGISTERED INDIAN population growth over 25 years, from 2004 to 2029. "REGISTERED INDIAN" refers to persons registered under the INDIAN ACT. The baseline population for the projection is based on Indian Register counts adjusted for late reporting and under-reporting of births and deaths. The projection model includes basic components of growth that are specific to the REGISTERED INDIAN population brought about by the 1985 amendments tothe INDIAN ACT. These include reinstatement of status, status inheritance provisions and exogamous parenting (parenting of an individual who is registered with an individual who is not registered).

The projections highlighted in this pamphlet are based on assumptions developed under the "Medium Growth Scenario". This scenario is most consistent with recent trends and is summarized as follows:

  • Moderate decline in fertility
  • Moderate decline in the volume of migration between on and off reserve
  • Gradual improvement in life expectancy at birth
  • Declining reate of reinstatement of status under provisions in the INDIAN ACT as amended in 1985
  • Constant rate of exogamous parenting which has implications on children's entitlement to registration.

National Registered Idian Population Growth

Significant growth of the REGISTERED INDIAN populatio is projected well into the future. Under the meduim growth scenario, the population entitled to Indian registration is expected to grow from 764,300 to about 1,069,600 (40% increase) by 2029. Depending on the projection scenario, the range of overall growth is expected to be as low as 1,039,700 and as high as 1,091,800 (or a 36% and 43% increase).

Figure 1 illustrates that the REGISTERED INDIAN population living on reserve is projected to rise by about 263,900 individuals (62%) over the 25-year period from 427,100 to about 691,000. Lower fertility rates and much higher rates of exogamous parenting off reserve are projected to result in a significantly lower level of growth off reserve. The off-reserve population is projected to increase by about 41,400 (12%) during the 25-year period from 337,200 to about 378,600.

Figure I - Registered Indian Population, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada, 2004-2029

Registered Indian Population

Rates of growth are expected to slow throughout the projection period in response to lower levels fertility, smaller numbers of additions through reinstatements, and loss of registration entitlement among a growing number of descendants. As indicated in Table 1, the average annual growth rate of the REGISTERED INDIAN population is projected to fall from about 1.7% to 1.0% by the end of the projection period. In comparison, growth rates for the general Canadian population, which are supported mostly by international immigration, are projected to fall from about 0.8% to 0.6% for the same time-frame.

Table 1 - Projected Average Annual Growth Rate Of The Registered Indian Population, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada, 2004-2029

Year Registered Canadian Population*
On Reserve Off Reserve Total
2004-2009 2.5% 0.7% 1.7% 0.8%
2009-2014 2.2% 0.5% 1.5% 0.8%
2014-2019 1.9% 0.4% 1.6% 0.8%
2019-2024 1.7% 0.4% 1.2% 0.7%
2024-2029 1.5% 0.3% 1.0% 0.6%

*Statistics Canada, catalogue no. 91-520

Regional Registered Indian Population Growth

As a consequence of regional variations in fertility, exogamous parenting rates and migration, projected growth of the REGISTERED INDIAN population is expected to differ widely across regions. As identified in Figure 2, overall growth is projected to be most pronounced in the Prairie region, which could contain the majority of the REGISTERED INDIAN population by 2029. Declining off-reserve REGISTERED INDIAN populations are projected in regions east of Manitoba and in British Columbia.

Figure 2 - Projected Overall Growth (%) By Region, Medium Growth Scenario, 2004-2029

Projected Overall Growth

Age Structure

Declining fertility and improvements in life expectancy are expected to result in shifts in the age structure of the REGISTERED INDIAN population. As revealed in Figure 3, the projections indicate a significant drop in the share of the population less than 15 years of age (from 32% in 2004 to 24% in 2029) resulting in a substantial growth in the share of population aged 45 or more (from 21% in 2004 to 32% in 2029). In comparision, about 49% of the Canadian population will be aged 45 or more by the year 2029. However, the REGISTERED INDIAN population will remain extremely youthful in comparison to the Canadian population as depicted in the age-gender pyramid.

Figure 3 - Age-Gender Pyramid For Registered Indian And The Canadian Population, Medium Growth Scenario, 2004-2029

Age-Gender Pyramid For Registered Indian And The Canadian Population

Projected Growth Of Non-Registered Descendants, 2004-2029

Significant increases both on and off reserve are expected in the descendant population that does not qualify for registration. The on-reserve non-entitled descendant population is projected to rise from about 4,300 in 2004 to 93,800 in 2029. Off reserve, this population is projected to rise from about 61,500 to 144,800.

Figure 4 shows that the on-reserve population share entitled to Indian registration is projected to decline by about 11 percentage points during the period from about 89% (2004) to about 78% (2029). The population share associated with non-registered groups is expected to rise from about 11% (2004) to about 22% (2029). Just about all of this increase is associated with the descendants who will not be entitled to registration under the 1985 amendments to the INDIAN ACT.

Figure 4 - Projected Composition Of Population On Reserve, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada, 2004 and 2029.

Projected Composition Of Population On Reserve

Household Projections

Observed trends in household formation suggest that the number of households could increase from 287,900 to about 467,400 over the 25-year period (Figure 5). Household growth is expected to occur most rapidly on reserve. The number of REGISTERED INDIAN households on reserve is projected to rise from about 122,000 in 2004 to 242,300 by year 2029.

REGISTERED INDIAN household growth off reserve is expected to occur more slowly as a consequence of the lower projected rates of population growth. The number of households off reserve is projected to rise from about 165,900 to 225,100. Consistent with the results of the population projections by region, household growth is also expected to occur more rapidly in the Prairie region.

Figure 5 - Projected Number Of Registered Indian Households, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada, 2004-2029

Projected Number Of Registered Indian Households

Family Projections

As revealed in Table 2, the number of REGISTERED INDIAN families could rise to about 419,900 over the next 25 years, an increase of roughly 71 percent. On reserve, the number of REGISTERED INDIAN families is projected to increase by about 106% during the period while off reserve, the increase is projected at about 41%.

Table 2 - Projected Number Of Registered Indian Families, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada, 2004-2029

Registered Indian Families (000's)
Year On Reserve Off Reserve Total
2004 113.4 132.2 245.6
2009 135.3 144.1 279.4
2014 157.8 154.9 312.8
2019 181.5 165.9 347.4
2024 207.9 176.8 384.7
2029 233.7 186.1 419.9

Two-parent families account for most of the projected growth both on and off reserve. Growth in the number of lone parent families is projected to occur more rapidly on reserve (Table 3), more than doubling during the period from 39,300 in 2004 to 81,000 by 2029 with the majority of the lone parent families being headed by a female (about 85%). More modest growth in lone parent families is projected to occur off reserve (38% increase).

Table 3 - Projected Number Of Registered Indian Lone Parent Families, Medium Growth Scenario, Canada 2004-2029

Registered Indian Lone Parent Families (000's)
Year On Reserve Off Reserve Total
2004 39.3 37.0 76.3
2009 46.7 39.8 86.5
2014 54.4 42.3 96.7
2019 62.4 45.1 107.6
2024 71.6 48.2 119.9
2029 81.0 51.0 132.0

For more information on the REGISTERED INDIAN Population, Household and Family Projections 2004-2029, visit other Research and Statistics publications or call the Public Enquiries Contact Centre at 1-800-567-9604.