Aboriginal Women in Canada: A Statistical Profile from the 2006 Census

ISBN: R2-162/2006E-PDF
QS-7115-000-EE-A1
Catalogue No.: 978-1-100-20156-6

PDF version   (2,725 Kb, 98 pages)

 

The views expressed in this report are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.


Table of Contents


Executive Summary: Aboriginal Women in Canada Highlights

Population Structure and Place of Residence

  • In 2006, Aboriginal females who resided in Ontario made up approximately 11% of the total female Aboriginal population. 31% of Aboriginal women resided in the Western Provinces which includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC.

  • In 2006, the median age of the Aboriginal population was 27 years, compared with 40 years for non-Aboriginal people, a difference of 13 years. Among the Registered Indian population the findings in this study showed that there were slightly more females aged 19 years and less living on reserves (44%) compared to males (35%). However, the off-reserve population of Registered Indians aged 19 years and less is slightly higher for both females (45%) and males (43%) when compared to those living on reserve. Furthermore, Inuit females (49%) and Inuit males (46%) have the largest proportion of their population that are19 years and less, when compared to the other identity groups.

  • The Aboriginal female population is aging, albeit at a slower rate when compared to the non-Aboriginal female population. Of the total Aboriginal identity population in 2006, females 60 years of age and over accounted for 7%.

Language Use and Knowledge

  • The findings in this study revealed that the majority of Aboriginal women (73%) learned English as their first language while only 16% learned either an Aboriginal language, and 8% learned French as their first language. The proportion of Aboriginal girls or women with an Aboriginal (Amerindian or Inuktitut) mother tongue is relatively low among the younger age groups, and higher among the older age groups; an observation that points to a shift from both Aboriginal languages and French to English across generations.

  • The proportion of the population with an Aboriginal mother tongue is highest among Inuit. More Inuit women 65% (of all age groups) reported Inuktitut as their mother tongue compared to English (32%). Among the Registered Indian population the proportion with an Aboriginal mother tongue is 28%, and much lower for Métis women at 3%.

  • The vast majority (75%) of the Aboriginal population spoke English as their primary home based language, while 16% an Aboriginal language and 5% spoke French. In addition, 29% of First Nations people said that they could speak an Aboriginal language well enough to carry on a conversation. This figure, however, was much higher for First Nations people living on reserve. In 2006, half of the First Nations people living on reserve (51%) could speak in an Aboriginal language compared with 12% of those living off reserve. The First Nations languages with the largest number of speakers in 2006 were Cree (87,285), Ojibway (30,255), Oji-Cree (12,435) and Montagnais-Naskapi (11,080).

Family and Relationships

  • In 2006, Aboriginal women were less likely to be legally married and more likely to live in common-law relationships, to have more children, to be a lone parent and to be living with either immediate or extended family members when compared to non-Aboriginal women. For example, in 2006 fewer Aboriginal women reported being legally married (48%) compared to non-Aboriginal women (58%). This proportion was lowest for Registered Indian women both on reserve (47%) and off reserve (48%) when compared to the other Aboriginal identity groups. Divorce rates were highest for Métis women (7%) followed by non-Aboriginal women (6%), Registered Indian women on reserve (5%), Registered Indian women off reserve (3%) and Inuit women (2%).

Education

  • In 2006, close to 23% of Aboriginal women reported secondary school attainment and 36% some level of postsecondary school attainment. A larger proportion of women (41%) have no degree of certificate. Slightly more Aboriginal females had postsecondary education (about 36%) when compared to Aboriginal males (33%). However, these percentages are still lower when compared to non-Aboriginal females (50%) and males (52%). While a relatively equal proportion of both Aboriginal females had trades training or other non-university (25%) compared to non-Aboriginal females (27%), the findings also showed that there are considerably lower percentages of Aboriginal females (7%) who had obtained a university degree when compared to non-Aboriginal females (19%). However, in 2006 the proportion of Aboriginal females with a university degree was slightly higher when compared to Aboriginal males (5%).

  • The highest proportion of Aboriginal women was found in the field of business, management and public administration (30%) as well as health, parks, recreation and fitness (22%). Meanwhile, very few Aboriginal women have qualifications in physical and life sciences and agriculture and natural resources.

  • Findings in this study showed that there are educational differences between Aboriginal women and men by field of study. For example, in 2006, there were higher proportions of Registered Indian women living on reserves, Inuit women and Métis women represented in the field of Education when compared to other fields of academic study. Meanwhile, close to half (47%) of Aboriginal men were found to be represented in the field of architecture, engineering and related technologies compared to only 4% of Aboriginal women. Aboriginal men also comprise a larger proportion in the fields of personal, protective and transportation services (14%) compared to Aboriginal women (9%).

Employment and Occupations

  • The National Occupational Classification system (NOC) organizes occupations into categories based on skill types and skill levels. This allows occupations to be grouped into four broad hierarchical skill levels based on the extent of education and training required for a given occupation: Level A, Level B, Level C, and Level D. This study examined the distributions for women and men in 14 occupations within these 4 skill levels by identity group. Occupations within Level A require the most extensive education and training, while occupations within Level D require the least education and training.

  • The largest proportion of Aboriginal women was found within Level C, which is comprised of semi-skilled occupations such as clerical and sales and service occupations. This category accounts for 37% of Aboriginal women in the labour force. Another 19% of Aboriginal women are found in other sales and service occupations (Level D). Aboriginal women's occupational distributions are also somewhat different from those of non-Aboriginal women, at least when Level A and D occupations are compared. The proportion of non-Aboriginal in Level A occupations is 26% compared to 19% among Aboriginal women, while the proportion in Level D occupations is about 5% lower.

  • Slight differences were observed when comparing occupational classifications of women in the various aboriginal identity groups. The proportions of women at both the highly skilled (Level A) and unskilled (Level D) ends of the skills spectrum are slightly higher for Inuit women, followed by Registered Indian women. Meanwhile, Métis women are slightly more represented in Level C occupations.

  • The results of the study showed that Inuit women and Registered Indian women reported the largest proportions of "full time" childcare (more than 60 hours per week). While 28% of Inuit women and 29% of Registered Indian women were engaged in more than 60 hours of childcare per week, the proportions of Métis women was 17%. There is no doubt that childcare is the most time-consuming activity for Registered Indians and Inuit. Among Aboriginal women engaged in childcare, the majority of women spending more than 60 hours or more caring for children per week were between the ages of 25-34 years.

  • Close to 93% of both Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal women reported time spent cleaning, cooking, and conducting household maintenance or yard work compared to 86% of non-Aboriginal women and 88% of non-Aboriginal men. In addition, it was shown that a higher proportion of Aboriginal women (26%) reported spending more than 30 hours doing housework when compared to non-Aboriginal women (20%), Aboriginal men (13%) and non-Aboriginal men (8%). In fact, a significantly higher proportion of Registered Indian women living on reserve (20%) reported spending 60 hours or more doing housework when compared to Registered Indian women living off reserve (10%), Métis women (9%), Inuit women (11%) and non-Aboriginal women (6%).

Income

  • In 2005, the average income of Aboriginal women was $21,773, compared to $28,272 for non-Aboriginal women in Canada. This means that the average incomes of Aboriginal women were about 77% of the average incomes of non-Aboriginal women. When comparing the various Aboriginal identity groups, Inuit women and Métis women have the highest average income at $24,927 and $22,706 respectively, while Registered Indian women have the lowest average income at $20,743.

  • For all identity groups women's average incomes were very low among youth aged 15-24. Average incomes increase with age, reaching their highest level among those in the 45-64 age groups, and then decline for women aged 65 years and over. The differences between the income of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women are smallest, in both absolute and percentage terms, among those in the youngest and oldest age groups.

  • The difference between women's and men's incomes was smallest among the Inuit population with a difference of $3,000. This is followed by the Registered Indian population, where women's incomes are about 80% of men's incomes. The greatest gender difference is observed for the Métis population with a difference of roughly $12,000 between Métis women and men.

  • The findings showed that increases in the average income of Aboriginal women are a function of higher levels of education. Aboriginal women with a high school degree or equivalent have an average income of $19,215 compared to $39,830 for non-Aboriginal women with a university degree.

  • The findings in this study suggest that there appears to be a "gender polarization" between Aboriginal women and men by income level when we consider variations in labour markets by place of residence (northern communities and on reserves). For example, labour markets on reserves tend to be dominated by public sector occupations, such as clerical, administrative, health and education-related jobs of which a majority of women tend to occupy. Women, therefore, are more likely than men to obtain related qualifications and earn less income, compared to male-dominated occupations such as the trades and skilled crafts.

  • The largest portion of total income in 2005 among women in all identity groups was derived from employment. This proportion ranged from 83% of the income of Registered Indian women to 86% of Métis women. Yet, the proportion of income from government transfers was higher among Registered Indian and Inuit women when compared to Métis and non-Aboriginal women. In particular, 15% of the income of Registered Indian women was derived from government transfer payments, compared to 7% of the income of Registered Indian men.

Low Income

  • At the time of the 2006 Census, based on before-tax incomes, more than 36% of Aboriginal women, compared to 17% of non-Aboriginal women were living in poverty.

  • In 2005, a significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (23%) were living below the low income cut-off when compared to Aboriginal families headed by men (9%) and non-Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (17%) and men (9%). 

Migration and Mobility Patterns

  • The results of this study reveal that close to 50% of the Aboriginal female population moved between 2001 and 2006. This was slightly higher than the mobility rate among the non-Aboriginal female population (41%). There is even more of a difference when we compare the proportions of the Registered Indian females off reserve (58%) who reported moving compared to those women living on reserve (24%) five years prior to the 2006 Census.

  • In fact, the findings showed that significantly more "off reserve" Registered Indian women moved, across all age groups when compared to those women living on reserve. Although, mobility rates have increased since 1996 this pattern of mobility is very similar to the findings of the 1996 and 2001 for off-reserve Registered Indian women. The reasons for such high mobility rates for the off-reserve Registered Indian population are complex and most likely attributed a host of interrelated factors, such as low income, employment opportunities, inadequate housing and housing affordability, childcare, as well as access to various social services and networks of care.


List of Tables

Table 1: Percentage Distribution of Aboriginal Population, by Sex and Province or Territory, Canada, 2006

Table 2: Population Distribution of Female Population, by Age Group, Identity and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 3: Mother Tongue for the Female Aboriginal Population, by Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2006

Table 4: Home Language for the  Aboriginal Population, by sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, 2006

Table 5: Female Registered Indian Population, by Area of Residence, Mother Tongue, Home Language and Index of Continuity, Canada, 2006

Table 6: Female Inuit Population, by Place of Residence, Mother Tongue, Home Language and Index of Continuity Canada, 2006

Table 7: Factors Affecting Changes in the Index of Continuity among Female Registered Indian Population, Canada, 1996, 2001 and 2006

Table 8: Knowledge of Official Languages, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 9: Marital Status of Aboriginal Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 10: Common-law Status of Aboriginal Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 11: Number of Children in the Family, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Table 12: Census Family Structure, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 13: Highest Level of Schooling, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 14: Major Field of Study for those with Postsecondary Education, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 15: Labour Force Activity of the Female Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 16: Labour Force Activity of the Male Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 17: Labour Force Indicators for Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Table 18: Occupations of Experienced Female Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Table 19: Occupations of Experienced Male Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Table 20: Percentage Distribution of the Aboriginal Labour Force, by Sex and Occupation, Showing the Ratio of Women/Men, Canada, 2006

Table 21: Hours of Unpaid Childcare, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2006

Table 22: Hours of Unpaid Housework during the Census Reference Week among Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 23: Income Distribution for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over with income, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2005

Table 24: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, Highest Level of Schooling and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Table 25: Percentage of Income from Employment and Government Transfer Payments, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2005

Table 26: Five-year Mobility Rates of Population Aged 5 Years and Over, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Table 27: Five-year Mobility Rates of Women Aged 5 Years and Over, by Age Group, Identity and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006




List of Figures

Figure  1: Distribution of the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Female Populations, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 2: On-Reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 3: Off-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 4:  Métis Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 5: Inuit Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 6: Total Fertility Rate among Registered Indian Women, Canada, 1976-2021

Figure 7: Female Lone-Parent Families, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 8: Highest Level of Schooling for Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Figure 9: Distribution of Canadian Women with a Post-Secondary Certification in Business, Management and Public Administration, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Figure 10: Participation Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 11: Unemployment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 12: Employment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 13: Occupation Levels of Women in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 14: Occupation Levels of Men in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 15: Average Individual Income for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 16: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, University Degree and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 17: Percentage of Income from Employment, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 18: Percentage of Income from Government Transfer Payments, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 19: Census Family Distribution, by Income Level, Identity Group and Area of Residence, Canada, 2005

Figure 20: Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Census Families with Low Income Before Taxes, by Sex, Canada, 2005

Figure 21: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved within the Same Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 22: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved From a Different Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 23: Five-year Mobility Rates for Female Registered Indian Movers, by Age Group and On/Off Reserve, Canada, 2006




Acknowledgements

I would like to gratefully acknowledge Eric Guimond, A/Director Strategic Research Directorate, Strategic Policy and Research Branch, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for his support with this research study. A special thanks to Erik Anderson and Marc Fonda of Strategic Research Directorate, Strategic Policy and Research Branch, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for their ongoing guidance, insights and editorial expertise. Many thanks to Anne Boucher for her role in producing the custom tabulations required for this study.

About the Author

The principal author of the publication is Jacqueline M. Quinless.  Jacqueline has a graduate degree in sociology with concentration in applied statistics from the University of Calgary, and years of applied research experience. She is also a faculty member in sociology at Camosun College in British Columbia where she teaches courses in the area of social research methods and sociology of the family. She is currently employed as the Research Director at Quintessential Research Group Inc., a social research and statistical consulting firm based in British Columbia. Prior to becoming an independent researcher, Jacqueline worked for the Population Research Laboratory (PRL) at the University of Alberta, Research Data Center (RDC) at the University of Calgary, and was employed for 10 years with Statistics Canada where she worked with numerous Aboriginal groups throughout Western and Northern Canada in a variety of research capacities. She has been involved in large scale data analysis projects, and providing training workshops to Aboriginal people in survey methodology and data analysis.

She has also been involved in helping to coordinate and manage primary data collection activities for the upcoming 2011 Census of Population and National Household Survey for all on reserve communities on Vancouver Island as well as all populations in the Yukon Territory, the 2001 Census of Population in Alberta, the 2001 Early Enumeration for the Arctic Region & Inuit Peoples and the 2001 Treaty Seven Housing Survey. She has been an expert advisor to Statistics Canada's Technical Advisory Committee for the content development of the National Survey of Aboriginal Education in Canada, and has been involved in numerous smaller scale social and health projects related to housing, employment, education, children and youth, and health & well-being for various Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Jacqueline has presented research findings directly related to the Canadian Aboriginal community at various conferences nationally and internationally.




Notes to Users

Defining the Aboriginal Population

Defining the Aboriginal population of Canada can be problematic and can often result in different estimates of population size. There is no "correct" way to define the Aboriginal population per se, and therefore it is important to recognize that the choice of a definition depends on the purpose for which it is to be used. Meaning, different definitions/counts can be used depending on the research focus and also the information requirements of the user.

Aboriginal Identity Groups

The 2006 Census of population provides data that are based on various definitions of the Aboriginal population which include ethnic origin (ancestry), Aboriginal identity, Registered Indian, and Band membership. For purposes of analysis, this study uses the concept of Aboriginal identity and examines the data by four main identity groups: Registered Indian living on reserve, Registered Indian living off reserve, Métis and Inuit to provide a statistical profile of the social and economic conditions of various groups of Aboriginal women.

The Aboriginal identity population includes all those who identified themselves in the 2006 Census as Aboriginal and/or identified themselves as Registered Indians or members of an Indian Band or First Nation. The population is derived from Census questions 18, 20 and 21. Question 18 asks people if they are North American Indian, Métis or Inuit and allows for multiple responses. Question 20 asks people whether they are a member of an Indian Band or First Nation and, if so, to give the name of the First Nation. Question 21 asks if the person is a "treaty or Registered Indian," defined as someone who is registered under the Indian Act.

The term "Total Aboriginal Identity" is used to include the following Aboriginal identity groups: Registered Indian (on and off reserve) under the Indian Act, or belong to a band , Inuit, and Métis. The "Other Canadian" (non-Aboriginal population) is the total Canadian population minus the total Aboriginal identity population.  Please note that all of the tables in this study concerning Aboriginal women use these identity categories.

  1. Aboriginal Identity refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, i.e. North American Indian, Métis or Inuit. Also included are individuals, who did not report an Aboriginal identity but did report themselves as a Registered or Treaty Indian and/or Band or First Nation membership.

  2. Registered or Treaty Indian refers to those who reported they were registered under the Indian Act of Canada. Treaty Indians are persons who are registered under the Indian Act of Canada and can prove descent from a Band that signed a treaty. The term "treaty Indian" is more widely used in the Prairie Provinces.

  3. Member of an Indian Band or First Nation refers to those persons who reported being a member of an Indian band or a First Nation of Canada.

  4. Non-Aboriginal refers to individuals who do not fall into one of the Aboriginal identity categories.

Aboriginal Census Families

The Census family concept requires that family members be identified as a male or female spouse, a male or female common-law partner, a male or female lone-parent, or a child with a parent present. In this study an "Aboriginal family" is one in which the lone-parent or at least one of the members of the couple has Aboriginal identity, or is a Registered Indian or a Band Member. Sub-categories are determined by cross-tabulating Registered Indian status and Aboriginal identity status. Families that have mixed Aboriginal status are assigned to the Registered Indian category if one of the parents is Registered Indian. Otherwise they are assigned to the "Other Aboriginal/Mixed" category. Métis and Inuit families are those where at least one parent is Métis or Inuit respectively, and where no other Aboriginal identity is indicated (although there may be non-Aboriginal family members).

Aboriginal Economic Families

The economic family concept is broader than the Census family concept. Two or more related Census families living together also constitute one economic family. For example, a man and his wife living with their married son and daughter-in-law; two or more brothers or sisters living together, apart from their parents, will form an economic family, but not a Census family, since they do not meet the requirements for the latter. Economic families are therefore somewhat larger on average than Census families.

The classification of economic families into identity groups is based on whether they include Census families that have a given Aboriginal identity as defined above. In some cases economic families do not include any Census families, and where this happens, the families are categorized as Aboriginal if at least 50% of the family members have Aboriginal status.

Data Sources

This report uses data from the 2006 Census of Population. According to Statistics Canada, in 2006 about 98% of households were enumerated using the self-enumeration method. In this case, 70% of households were mailed a Census questionnaire and 30% of households received their questionnaires from a Census enumerator. Completed Census forms were either returned by mail or completed on-line. In addition, about 2% of households in remote communities, northern areas of the country and in large urban downtown areas with transient residents completed their Census forms using the canvasser method which uses a personal interview conducted by a Census enumerator.

The data presented in this study are based on custom 2006 Census of Population tabulations prepared by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. It is important to note that for reasons of confidentiality that all Census data are subject to suppression rules of Statistics Canada and all counts in Census tabulations (except those for total population and dwelling counts based on 100% data) are subject to a process called random rounding. As indicated in this report, the data for particular sub-categories in some tables is missing due to suppression or because the number of cases is too small to be interpreted as meaningful.

Questionnaires

In 2006, the Census used two questionnaires, a short form (2A) and a long form (2B) to collect information on the demographic, social, and economic make-up of the Canadian Population. In 2006, 80% of all off-reserve Aboriginal households received the short Census questionnaire (2A), which contained eight questions on basic demographic information such as relationship to person 1, age, sex, marital status, and mother tongue. One in five off-reserve households (20%) received the long questionnaire form (2B) which included the eight questions from the short form as well as 53 additional questions on topics such as education, income, employment, and mobility. All on-reserve households received the on reserve long form (2D – a variation of 2B) and completed the questionnaire with the aid of a Statistics Canada interviewer.

Undercoverage

While the objective of the Census of Population is to provide a snapshot of detailed information on the social, economic, and demographic conditions of the population on Census Day, inevitably a small percentage of the population are not included. Undercoverage occurs for a variety of reasons including, for example, a household that did not receive a questionnaire, an individual has no usual place of residence or did not spend the night of Census Day in a dwelling. Undercoverage is an important issue to consider especially when interpreting and analyzing Census data for the Aboriginal population for two reasons. First, it can be exceedingly difficult to delineate an accurate portrait of the urban Aboriginal population if one takes into consideration the high degree of mobility. Research studies have shown that a significant proportion of the Aboriginal population are transient and frequently move between on-reserve and off-reserve locations, as well as within Census metropolitan areas. Second, one must consider the magnitude of undercounted Aboriginal people and how this impacts the counts by Aboriginal identity group status and geographic location. However, despite these limitations, the Census is still regarded as one of the most up-to-date and comprehensive sources of data available on Aboriginal people in Canada.

Interpreting Results

Statistics Canada applies a confidentiality procedure of random rounding to all Census data to avoid the possibility of associating statistical data with any identifiable individual. With this method all data, including totals and margins are randomly rounded either up or down to a multiple of "5" or in some cases "10". As a result, the sum of a set of data may not add to the total, and percentages, which are calculated on rounded figures, do not necessarily add to 100%.

The impact of this procedure is particularly noticeable on small counts. In effect, small numbers may lose their precision, and percentages calculated based on these numbers may not represent the proportion of the population indicated.

Introduction

Project Background

The marginalization of Aboriginal people in Canada is well documented.  While research into the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people has been on-going for over 30 years, similar statistical and comparative research that focuses exclusively on different groups of Aboriginal women has been insufficient. Part of the reason for this is that empirical research on Aboriginal people has often failed to include a comprehensive gender-based analysis, and consequently has not adequately identified and addressed the issues that may be of most relevance to Aboriginal women. A review of the existing literature reveals that even when research does focus on Aboriginal women, it is largely contained to the fields of criminology, health and well-being.

While there may be statistical similarities among culturally diverse groups of Aboriginal women there are also significant differences. Much of the data that is now available on Aboriginal women is presented homogenously, it groups Aboriginal women together. The result is that there is little comparative information that clearly delineates the current social and economic differences between Registered Indian (on and off reserve), Métis and Inuit women, and arguably four very unique groups. Indeed, Aboriginal women in Canada represent a diverse population and their social and economic circumstances are differentiated from one another by their respective Aboriginal identity groups along with other social and demographic variables such as age, place of residence, and number of children to name a few, as well as when they are compared to Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal men and women.

The purpose of this study is to provide a current statistical context for understanding the current social and economic conditions of Registered Indian (on and off reserve),Métis and Inuit women, using data from the 2006 Census of Population, and in doing so help to delineate a statistical portrait of their unique lives and social realities. This information can then be used as a supporting document to assist researchers and policy makers in their attempts to further their understanding of the issues and achievements of Aboriginal women in Canada.

The 1996 and the 2001 statistical profiles of Aboriginal Women provided much needed statistical information about the circumstances of Aboriginal women in Canada and the social factors that affect them. In particular, these studies used data from the 1996 and 2001 Census of Population to provide a statistical description of information related to a number of dimensions such as, geography, language, family, employment, education and migration of Aboriginal women and explored how these characteristics differ for these women by Aboriginal identity group and when compared to Aboriginal men as well as non-Aboriginal men and women. The current 2006 research study is equally important because it provides a statistical snap shot of the social and economic circumstances of Aboriginal women in Canada and in some instances compares this information with the previous Census years, and thus a 10 to 15 year examination of the social and economic changes with respect to these conditions. The study also includes a review of relevant statistical and comparative research that helps to further contextualize the social, demographic and economic conditions of Canadian Aboriginal women.

The issues, challenges, and achievements of Aboriginal women are multi-faceted, inter-related, and complex. There are several important research studies that explore aspects of these issues in detail which range, for example, from homelessness, domestic violence, drug addiction, entrepreneurship, and even describing Aboriginal women's spirituality. However, for comparability purposes with 1996 and 2001, the current study uses similar socio-economic and demographic topics and variables as described in the 2006 Census of Population, and follows the same format used in the previous studies. The consistency of data over the past decade can help identify important trends over time. The present analysis divides Aboriginal women into four main identity groups: Registered Indian (on and off reserve), Métis and Inuit and where appropriate compares this information to the Total Aboriginal identity population, Aboriginal men as well as non-Aboriginal men and women. In doing so, it covers the following topic areas: population distribution and age, Aboriginal languages, relationships and family, educational attainment, employment and occupations, income and low income, and migration and mobility patterns.

Several significant changes have occurred between 2001 and 2006 in the Canadian economy that have influenced the lives of Canadians. First, research indicates that the economic growth of this period elevated the economic circumstances for the Canadian population as a whole (Transport Canada, ‘Canadian Economic Performance 2009'; US Joint Economic Committee, December 2005). Second, the Aboriginal population has increased significantly since 2001 and now comprises a larger share of the total Canadian population. According to Statistics Canada, the number of people who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person passed the one-million mark in 2006 (1,172,790), accounting for 3.8% of the total population, up from 3.3% in 2001. In 2006, 600,695 Aboriginal women comprised 3% of the total population of females in Canada. Compared to the non-Aboriginal female population, the Aboriginal female population is growing much more rapidly. In the period from 2001 to 2006, the number of Aboriginal women and girls rose by 20.3% in comparison to a 5.6% growth rate in non-Aboriginal female population of women and girls (Statistics Canada, 2008).

Several factors have been put forth to explain this growth including high birth rates, migration and mobility patterns, more individuals self-identifying as Aboriginal [Note 1], longer life expectancy, and a reduction in the number of incompletely enumerated Indian reserves since 1996. With this in mind, an important question to address in this study is whether Aboriginal women, now representing a larger share of the Canadian population, socially and economically "benefited" as much from this strong economic cycle when compared to Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal men and women, and if so, to what extent?

1.0 Aboriginal Women: Population and Place of Residence

The age structure of the Aboriginal population is quite different from that of the non- Aboriginal population in both 2001 and 2006. Differences also exist among Aboriginal identity groups, by sexand place of residence. This section will provide a brief description of the population characteristics of the Aboriginal population for males and females for the various identity groups and by place of residence.

1.1 Population Age Structure

Aboriginal Women in 2001

Research shows that since 1996 the female Aboriginal population in Canada is growing at a faster rate when compared to the total Canadian female population. According to O'Donnell (2005) from 1996 to 2001, there was a 22% increase in the number of Aboriginal women in Canada compared to only a 4% growth rate in the non-Aboriginal female population. Of the total Aboriginal female population in 2001, 63% were North American Indian (First Nations), 29% were Métis and 5% were Inuit. The remaining 3% identified with either more than one Aboriginal group, or had registered Indian status and/or band membership. In 2001, the population distribution among Aboriginal identity women and Aboriginal identity men was similar; with 51% of the population being comprised of women and 49% Aboriginal men. In addition, the report also showed that this population distribution was similar across the various Aboriginal identity groups, whereby 52% of the total First Nations (North American Indian) population in Canada was female compared to 48% males, and an even gender divide of 50% for both Métis and Inuit identity groups (O'Donnell, 2005).

In addition to a growing population, research shows that the female Aboriginal population in Canada is also relatively young. A comparison of data between the total Aboriginal identity female population less than 15 years of age to that of the total non-Aboriginal female population in 2001, shows a 14% difference, whereby approximately 32% of Aboriginal females were under 15 years of age, compared with only 18% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. (O'Donnell, 2005). In addition, O'Donnell alludes to the fact that this difference becomes even more apparent when one takes into account both factors, age categories as well as the various Aboriginal identity groups. The data from this report shows that in 2001, 38% of the Inuit female population was under the age of 15, compared to 33% among North American Indian (First Nations) females and 28% among the Métis female population. So while we see that approximately one third of the  Aboriginal identity female population is less than 15 years of age in general, it is important to note that there are slightly more Inuit females less than 15 years of age, when compared to North American Indian and Métis females.

Further research suggests that in 2001 there were slightly more Aboriginal women aged 65 years and over in Canada compared to Aboriginal men. According to Statistics Canada, 2001 Census data reveals that among the total Aboriginal identity population, 54% were women aged 65 years and over compared to 46% men. When considering the various Aboriginal identity groups we see somewhat similar distributions among women and men in the 65 year and over age group. For example, there are 56% of women belonging to the North American Indian population compared to 44% men, and in the Métis population 52% women compared to 48%. It is interesting to note, that among Inuit people aged 65 years and over, there were slightly more men at 55% compared to 45%  women (Statistics Canada, 2007: A Portrait of Seniors in Canada).

Aboriginal Women in 2006

The past decade has seen the largest increase in the Aboriginal population in recorded history. According to Statistics Canada, in the period between 1996 and 2006, the Aboriginal population grew by 45%, which was exceedingly faster than the 8% rate of increase for the non-Aboriginal population. While there were roughly 800,000 Aboriginal people in Canada in 1996, this figure grew to 1,172,790 in 2006 of which females accounted for 51% of the population compared to 49% males. In 2006, the Aboriginal population was comprised of 28% of females less than 15 years of age compared to 31% of males. In addition, the median age of the Aboriginal population was 27 years, compared to 40 years for the non-Aboriginal population, a difference of 13 years. As seen in 2001, the trend in a "youthful" age profile continued to exist in 2006. (Statistics Canada, 2008, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006, CD Rom)

Interestingly, the Aboriginal population is aging, albeit at a slower rate when compared to the non-Aboriginal population. Of the total Aboriginal identity population in 2006, females 60 years of age and over accounted for 7% of the population (see Figure 1). This can perhaps be attributed to the fact that fertility rates for the Aboriginal population are indeed higher than for the non-Aboriginal population, even though there is indication that they are continuing to decline. Moreover, there has been a gradual improvement in life expectancy. These two influences have resulted in a slight shift towards an older age demographic among Aboriginal peoples, and Aboriginal women in particular.

 Figure 1: Distribution of the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Female Populations, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 1: Distribution of the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Female Populations, by Age Group, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 1: Distribution of the Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Female Populations, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

This image is a vertical bar graph showing the percentage distribution of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal female populations, by broader age group, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into four broader age groups. On the X axis, from left to right the age groups are:  0-19, 20-39, 40-59 and 60 years and over. 

For the female Aboriginal population the percentages are: 38% (ages 0-19); 29.5% (ages 20-39); 24.5 % (ages 40-59); 7.9 % (ages 60 and over). 

For the female non-Aboriginal population the percentages are: 27% (ages 0-19); 26.2% (ages 20-39); 31% (ages 40-59); 19.7% (ages 60 and over).

1.2 Place of Residence

Table 1 compares the distribution of the Aboriginal population by sex and geographic location. From the Table, we see that in 2006 Aboriginal females who resided in Ontario made up approximately 11% of the total female Aboriginal population (600,695) compared to 9% of Aboriginal females who resided in British Columbia, 8% who resided in Alberta, and 8% in Manitoba. This population distribution is similar for Aboriginal males whereby of the total male Aboriginal population (572,080) 10% resided in Ontario, 8% in British Columbia, about 8% in Alberta and 7% in Manitoba.

Table 1: Percent Distribution of the Aboriginal Population, by Sex and Province or Territory, Canada, 2006
Province or Territory Female Male
Total Aboriginal Population 1,172,780
  600,695 572,080
Newfoundland and Labrador 1.0% 1.0%
Prince Edward Island 0.1% 0.1%
Nova Scotia 1.1% 1.0%
New Brunswick 0.8% 0.7%
Quebec 4.7% 4.6%
Ontario 10.7% 10.0%
Manitoba 7.6% 7.3%
Saskatchewan 6.2% 5.9%
Alberta 8.2% 7.8%
British Columbia 8.6% 8.1%
Yukon Territory 0.3% 0.3%
Northwest Territories 0.9% 0.9%
Nunavut 1.1% 1.1%
Percent of the Total Aboriginal Population 51.2% 48.8%

The following population pyramids show the age distribution by sex, of the on-reserve Registered Indian population (Figure 2), the off-reserve Registered Indian population (Figure 3), the Métis population (Figure 4) and the Inuit population (Figure 5). Each pyramid illustrates the youngest to the oldest age groups, and each horizontal bar represents a 5-year age group. The left side of each pyramid shows the percentage of the total male population in a given age group, while the right side shows the percentage of the total female population. In general, a population pyramid that is wide at the bottom indicates a young and growing population, while a pyramid that is wider towards the top indicates an aging population.

Figure 2: On-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 2: On-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 2: On-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

This image is a population pyramid, also called "age pyramid", showing two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs that illustrate the distribution of several five-year age groups for both male and female On-reserve Registered Indian Populations, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

An age pyramid consists of two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs with the population size on the X-axis and the age groups on the Y-axis.

The X axis is measured by the size of the population in numbers and increases by increments of 5,000 from 0 up to 20,000. The left side of the age pyramid depicts the number of males and the right side the number of females.

The Y axis is located in the middle of the age pyramid and depicts the age group of population; one Y axis is used for both horizontal charts. On the Y axis, from the bottom to the top of the age pyramid, the age groups are as follows: 0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80 years and over.

For the 0 to 4 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 16,845 for males and 16,230 for females.

For the 5 to 9 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 17,050 for males and 16,185 for females.

For the 10 to 14 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 18,185 for males and 17,165 for females.

For the 15 to 19 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 16,500 for males and 15,400 for females.

For the 20 to 24 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 12,020 for males and 11,760 for females.

For the 25 to 29 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 9,880 for males and 9,945 for females.

For the 30 to 34 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 9,615 for males and 9,730 for females.

For the 35 to 39 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 10,065 for males and 10,065 for females.

For the 40 to 44 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 9,925 for males and 9,965 for females.

For the 45 to 49 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 8,600 for males and 8,545 for females.

For the 50 to 54 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 6,805 for males and 6,495 for females.

For the 55 to 59 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 5,260 for males and 5,040 for females.

For the 60 to 64 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 3,985 for males and 3,875 for females.

For the 65 to 69 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 2,790 for males and 3,030 for females.

For the 70-74 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 1,995 for males and 2,050 for females.

For the 75 to 79 age group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 1,240 for males and 1,380 for females.

For the 80 years of age and over group the On-reserve Registered Indian population is: 1,015 for males and 1,320 for females.

Figure 3: Off-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 3: Off-reserve Registered Indian  Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 3: Off-reserve Registered Indian Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

This image is a population pyramid, also called "age pyramid", showing two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs that illustrate the distribution of  several five-year age groups for both male and female Off-reserve Registered Indian Populations, in Canada, as of 2006.  The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

An age pyramid consists of two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs with the population size on the X-axis and the age groups on the Y-axis.

The X axis is measured by the size of the population in numbers and increases by increments of 5,000 from 0 up to 20,000.  The left side of the age pyramid depicts the number of males and the right side the number of females.  

The Y axis is located in the middle of the age pyramid and depicts the age group of population; one Y axis is used for both horizontal charts.  On the Y axis, from the bottom to the top of the age pyramid, the age groups are as follows:  0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80 years and over. 
For the 0 to 4 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 14,640 for males and 13,670 for females.

For the 5 to 9 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 16,710 for males and 15,790 for females.

For the 10 to 14 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 17,470 for males and 16,340 for females.

For the 15 to 19 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 15,695 for males and 15,040 for females.

For the 20 to 24 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 11,755 for males and 13,750 for females. 

For the 25 to 29 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 10,200 for males and 13,205 for females. 

For the 30 to 34 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 10,280 for males and 13,635 for females. 

For the 35 to 39 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 10,580 for males and 13,515 for females. 

For the 40 to 44 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 10,825 for males and 14,720 for females. 

For the 45 to 49 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 9,665 for males and 13,035 for females.

For the 50 to 54 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 7,250 for males and 10,240 for females. 

For the 55 to 59 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 5,360 for males and 7,630 for females. 

For the 60 to 64 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 3,390 for males and 5,225 for females. 

For the 65 to 69 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 2,250 for males and 3,565 for females. 

For the 70-74 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 1,640 for males and 2,525 for females. 

For the 75 to 79 age group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 740 for males and 1,545 for females.

For the 80 years of age and over group the Off-reserve Registered Indian population is: 595 for males and 1,300 for females.

Figure 4: Métis Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 4: Métis Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 4: Métis Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

This image is a population pyramid, also called "age pyramid", showing two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs that illustrate the distribution of several five-year age groups for both male and female Métis Populations, in Canada, as of 2006.The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

An age pyramid consists of two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs with the population size on the X-axis and the age groups on the Y-axis.

The X axis is measured by the size of the population in numbers and increases by increments of 5,000 from 0 up to 20,000.The left side of the age pyramid depicts the number of males and the right side the number of females.

The Y axis is located in the middle of the age pyramid and depicts the age group of population; one Y axis is used for both horizontal charts.  On the Y axis, from the bottom to the top of the age pyramid, the age groups are as follows:0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80 years and over.

For the 0 to 4 age group the Métis population is: 13,030 for males and 13,765 for females.
For the 5 to 9 age group the Métis population is: 14,090 for males and 15,250 for females.
For the 10 to 14 age group the Métis population is: 16,865 for males and 17,560 for females.
For the 15 to 19 age group the Métis population is: 17,510 for males and 17,785 for females.
For the 20 to 24 age group the Métis population is: 15,435 for males and 14,365 for females.
For the 25 to 29 age group the Métis population is: 13,285 for males and 12,295 for females.
For the 30 to 34 age group the Métis population is: 12,220 for males and 11,955 for females.
For the 35 to 39 age group the Métis population is: 13,310 for males and 11,350 for females.
For the 40 to 44 age group the Métis population is: 14,760 for males and 13,635 for females.
For the 45 to 49 age group the Métis population is: 13,980 for males and 13,350 for females.
For the 50 to 54 age group the Métis population is: 11,755 for males and 11,385 for females.
For the 55 to 59 age group the Métis population is: 8,175 for males and 8,835 for females.
For the 60 to 64 age group the Métis population is: 5,245 for males and 6,075 for females.
For the 65 to 69 age group the Métis population is: 3,575 for males and 4,140 for females.
For the 70-74 age group the Métis population is: 2,520 for males and 2,490 for females.
For the 75 to 79 age group the Métis population is: 1,430 for males and 1,475 for females.

For the 80 years of age and over group the Métis population is: 1,590 for males and 1,000 for females.

Figure 5: Inuit Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

Figure 5: Inuit Population, by Age  Group and Sex, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 5: Inuit Population, by Age Group and Sex, Canada, 2006

This image is a population pyramid, also called "age pyramid", showing two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs that illustrate the distribution of several five-year age groups for both male and female Inuit Populations, in Canada, as of 2006.The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

An age pyramid consists of two back-to-back horizontal bar graphs with the population size on the X-axis and the age groups on the Y-axis.

The X axis is measured by the size of the population in numbers and increases by increments of 1,000 from 0 up to 4,000.The left side of the age pyramid depicts the number of males and the right side the number of females. 

The Y axis is located in the middle of the age pyramid and depicts the age group of population; one Y axis is used for both horizontal charts.  On the Y axis, from the bottom to the top of the age pyramid, the age groups are as follows:0-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80 years and over.

For the 0 to 4 age group the Inuit population is: 2,990 for males and 2,800 for females.

For the 5 to 9 age group the Inuit population is: 2,955 for males and 2,735 for females.

For the 10 to 14 age group the Inuit population is: 2,915 for males and 2,905 for females.

For the 15 to 19 age group the Inuit population is: 3,000 for males and 2,850 for females.

For the 20 to 24 age group the Inuit population is: 2,220 for males and 2,205 for females.

For the 25 to 29 age group the Inuit population is: 1,730 for males and 1,830 for females.

For the 30 to 34 age group the Inuit population is: 1,555 for males and 1,770 for females.

For the 35 to 39 age group the Inuit population is: 1,620 for males and 1,740 for females.

For the 40 to 44 age group the Inuit population is 1,410 for males and 1,625 for females.

For the 45 to 49 age group the Inuit population is: 1,090 for males and 1,220 for females.

For the 50 to 54 age group the Inuit population is: 835 for males and 990 for females.

For the 55 to 59 age group the Inuit population is: 705 for males and 705 for females.

For the 60 to 64 age group the Inuit population is: 465 for males and 440 for females.

For the 65 to 69 age group the Inuit population is: 360 for males and 375 for females.

For the 70-74 age group the Inuit population is: 295 for males and 255 for females.

For the 75 to 79 age group the Inuit population is: 110 for males and 190 for females.

For the 80 years of age and over group for the Inuit population is: 120 for males and 95 for females.

Table 2 shows the distribution of the Aboriginal female population by age and place of residence. The most striking differences between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal female population are observed in the differences in the proportion of females less than 15 years of age and those 65 years and over. We see that the Aboriginal population has a significantly higher proportion of females less than 15 years of age (28%), when compared to the non-Aboriginal female population (16%). Among the Aboriginal identity groups we see more "younger" females less than 15 years old, who are Inuit (34%), followed by Registered Indian females living on reserve (33%) as well as off reserve (26%) and Métis (25%). Meanwhile, there are significantly fewer Aboriginal women in general who are 65 years and over (5%) compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts (15%).

Table 2: Population Distribution of the Female Population, by Age Group, Identity and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Age
Group
Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
    On Reserve Off Reserve      
Total Female
Population
600,695 148,185 174,760 24,735 178,785 15,314,065
0-4 yrs 8.9% 11.0% 7.8% 11.3% 7.3% 5.0%
5-9 yrs 9.3% 10.9% 9.0% 11.1% 7.9% 5.4%
10-14 yrs 10.2% 11.6% 9.3% 11.7% 9.4% 6.2%
15-19 yrs 9.6% 10.4% 8.6% 11.5% 9.8% 6.4%
20-24 yrs 8.1% 7.9% 7.9% 8.9% 8.6% 6.4%
25-29 yrs 7.2% 6.7% 7.6% 7.4% 7.4% 6.3%
30-34 yrs 7.0% 6.6% 7.8% 7.2% 6.8% 6.5%
35-39 yrs 7.3% 6.8% 7.7% 7.0% 7.4% 7.1%
40-44 yrs 7.8% 6.7% 8.4% 6.6% 8.3% 8.3%
45-49 yrs 7.0% 5.8% 7.5% 4.9% 7.8% 8.4%
50-54 yrs 5.6% 4.4% 5.9% 4.0% 6.6% 7.6%
55-59 yrs 4.1% 3.4% 4.4% 2.9% 4.6% 6.7%
60-64 yrs 2.8% 2.6% 3.0% 1.8% 2.9% 5.1%
65-69 yrs 2.0% 2.0% 2.0% 1.5% 2.0% 4.0%
70-74 yrs 1.4% 1.4% 1.4% 1.0% 1.4% 3.6%
75-79 yrs 0.9% 0.9% 0.9% 0.8% 0.8% 3.0%
80 + yrs 0.8% 0.9% 0.7% 0.4% 0.9% 3.9%




2.0 Language Use and Knowledge

Aboriginal Languages

Norris (2007) suggests that there are over 50 individual languages in Canada which belong to 11 Aboriginal language families, and are reflective of very distinctive cultures. For many First Nation, Inuit and Métis people, it is important to recognize that these languages are at center of their sense of cultural identity. There have been declining trends in the intergenerational transmission of Aboriginal mother tongues but that is also being offset by the fact that Aboriginal languages are also being learned as second languages (Norris, 2007). Women tend to be at the center of the Aboriginal family unit, and the extent to which they have knowledge of and use their respective Aboriginal languages is important.  Often women tend to be the primary purveyors transcending language, and subsequent sense of Aboriginal identity and culture onto their children. According to the 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey, a majority of parents, including mothers of Aboriginal children in non-reserve areas believed that overall it was important for their children to speak and understand an Aboriginal language (O'Donnell, 2005).

Using data from the 2001 Census O'Donnell (2005) explains that in 2001, 74% of all Aboriginal females reported that English was their mother tongue, while 6% indicated French. The remaining 20% of women reported that their mother tongue was indeed an Aboriginal language. Interestingly, the report indicates that the proportion of Aboriginal women who were "able to speak" an Aboriginal language was somewhat larger than those women who reported that their mother tongue was an Aboriginal language. O'Donnell (2005) further suggests that in 2001, 24% of Aboriginal women said they could converse in an Aboriginal language, which may suggest that some Aboriginal women are learning an Aboriginal language later in life. In fact, results from the 2001 Aboriginal Peoples Survey indicated that a "majority of Aboriginal women living off reserve (66%) reported that learning, relearning or maintaining their Aboriginal language was important compared to 55% of Aboriginal men living off reserve" (O'Donnell, 2005).

What is perhaps even more interesting, is that in 2001, when an individuals' ability to speak an Aboriginal language was observed for different Aboriginal identity groups, the figures showed that 71% of Inuit women reported they were able to speak an Aboriginal language, compared to 30% of North American Indian women. This suggests that both identity group as well as geographic location are important considerations, when attempting to understand differences in one's ability to speak an Aboriginal language. In fact, according to O'Donnell (2005) data from the census shows that in 2001 "approximately half (49%) of Aboriginal women living on reserve reported that they were able to speak an Aboriginal language, whereas the figure dropped to 24% among Aboriginal women living in off-reserve rural areas, 13% of those in smaller urban settings, and just 9% of Aboriginal women living in Census Metropolitan Areas" (O'Donnell, 2005).

In examining the values and attitudes of Inuit youth concerning Inuktitut and English, Norris (2007) found that most young Inuit, even those who thought that they were "good" or "excellent" at speaking Inuktitut, "expressed concern that as they use and hear English more frequently, they are losing their ability to speak Inuktitut well". Norris (2007) further argues that these findings suggest that many Inuit youth tended to associate Inuktitut with their sense of Inuit identity, traditional knowledge, and overall culture. Consequently, Norris (2007) suggests that to not be able to communicate in Inuktitut, since it is related to a sense of identity and culture, can ultimately affect one's sense of belonging and lead to further feelings of marginalization and exclusion. Although most Aboriginal language speakers learned their language as a mother tongue, Norris argues that many factors contribute to the erosion of intergenerational transmission of Aboriginal languages, including increasing migration between Aboriginal communities and cities, and to and from reserves; linguistic intermarriage; the prevailing influence of English and French in daily life; and the legacy of the residential school system (Norris, 2007).

Language is an important aspect of culture and the transmission of cultural values, meanings and symbols by which people relate to one another and come to understand their place, their world. It is generally contended among linguists that the worldview of people is rooted in their language and because of this, language and culture are entwined and cannot be separated (Crystal, 2000). As acculturation takes place in Canada, the continued existence of all Aboriginal languages in Canada is threatened to a greater or lesser extent. It has been suggested that only three of the many Aboriginal languages in Canada are likely to survive: Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut (Norris, 1998).

The 2006 Census provides different ways of looking at language knowledge and use through the following concepts:

Mother tongue refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the Census.

Home language refers to the language spoken most often or on a regular basis at home by the individual at the time of the Census.

Knowledge of official languages refers to the ability to conduct a conversation in one of Canada's official languages.

2.1 Mother Tongue

Table 3 provides information on "Mother Tongue" of the Aboriginal female population by age and identity group. The results show that the majority of Aboriginal women (73%) learned English as their first language, while only 16% learned either an Amerindian language or learned French as their first language (8%). The proportion of Aboriginal females with an Aboriginal (Amerindian or Inuktitut) mother tongue is relatively low among the younger age groups and higher among the older age groups; an observation that points to a shift from both Aboriginal languages and French to English over time. The proportion of the population with an Aboriginal mother tongue is highest among Inuit. More Inuit women 65% (of all age groups) reported Inuktitut as their mother tongue compared to English (32%). Among the Registered Indian population the proportion with an Aboriginal mother tongue is 28%, and much lower for Métis women at 3%.

Table 3: Mother Tongue for the Female Aboriginal Population, by Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2006
Aboriginal Identity and Age Group Total English French Amerindian Inuktitut/
Inuinnaqtun
All Other
Languages
Total Aboriginal 600,690 72.5% 8.1% 16.1% 2.7% 0.6%
0-4 yrs 53,520 79.1% 3.9% 13.2% 3.5% 0.0%
5-14 yrs 116,965 80.6% 4.4% 11.5% 3.1% 0.0%
15-19 yrs 57,855 79.1% 5.5% 11.8% 3.0% 0.1%
20-29 yrs 91,725 76.8% 6.8% 13.1% 2.8% 0.1%
30-39 yrs 85,695 73.0% 7.1% 16.6% 2.8% 0.0%
40-49 yrs 88,670 68.4% 10.7% 18.2% 2.2% 0.0%
50-64 yrs 75,450 59.6% 14.7% 22.9% 2.1% 0.0%
65+ yrs 30,810 48.0% 18.1% 31.2% 2.0% 0.0%
Registered Indian 322,940 67.8% 4.0% 27.9% 0.1% 0.0%
0-4 yrs 29,900 75.5% 1.9% 22.4% 0.1% 0.1%
5-14 yrs 65,480 78.1% 2.1% 19.5% 0.1% 0.1%
15-19 yrs 30,440 75.3% 3.1% 21.4% 0.0% 0.0%
20-29 yrs 48,665 72.6% 3.7% 23.6% 0.0% 0.0%
30-39 yrs 46,940 67.7% 3.4% 28.5% 0.1% 0.1%
40-49 yrs 46,270 62.1% 5.2% 32.4% 0.0% 0.0%
50-64 yrs 38,520 51.6% 7.0% 41.0% 0.1% 0.0%
65+ yrs 16,725 39.7% 8.5% 51.4% 0.1% 0.0%
Métis 178,780 83.1% 13.5% 2.5% 0.0% 0.0%
0-4 yrs 20,135 91.6% 6.1% 1.4% 0.0% 0.8%
5-14 yrs 43,850 91.4% 6.1% 1.6% 0.0% 0.7%
15-19 yrs 19,825 90.9% 6.6% 1.4% 0.0% 0.8%
20-29 yrs 17,045 88.8% 8.6% 1.7% 0.0% 0.7%
30-39 yrs 32,110 87.1% 9.1% 2.4% 0.0% 0.9%
40-49 yrs 32,965 81.4% 13.7% 3.2% 0.0% 0.9%
50-64 yrs 33,465 71.0% 20.8% 5.6% 0.0% 1.6%
65+ yrs 8,625 55.2% 30.1% 9.4% 0.0% 3.4%
Inuit 24,725 32.3% 1.5% 0.7% 65.4% 0.1%
0-4 yrs 2,800 33.0% 0.7% 0.4% 66.1% 0.0%
5-14 yrs 5,635 34.8% 1.1% 0.2% 63.6% 0.0%
15-19 yrs 2,850 38.2% 1.6% 0.7% 59.6% 0.0%
20-29 yrs 4,040 34.7% 1.2% 0.9% 63.0% 0.2%
30-39 yrs 3,505 30.7% 1.7% 0.0% 67.3% 0.0%
40-49 yrs 2,850 30.4% 0.9% 0.7% 67.7% 0.4%
50-64 yrs 2,130 22.5% 2.3% 0.0% 74.9% 0.0%
65+ yrs 915 19.7% 7.7% 8.2% 65.0% 0.0%

2.2 Home Language

Table 4 describes the home languages or the language(s) spoken most often in the home, at the time the census was taken, of the Aboriginal female population by identity group and place of residence. The findings show that the vast majority (75%) of Aboriginal women spoke English as their primary home-based language, while 16% an Aboriginal language and 5% spoke French. The proportion of Aboriginal women primarily speaking an Aboriginal language at home is slightly lower than the proportion with an Aboriginal mother tongue (the first language learned and still understands).

 

Table 4: Home Language for the Aboriginal Population, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Home Language Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Métis Inuit
Total On Reserve Off Reserve    
Female Population 600,695 322,945 148,185 174,760 178,785 24,735
English 75.2% 71.4% 57.1% 83.6% 85.1% 33.7%
French 4.9% 3.1% 1.0% 4.9% 6.2% 1.3%
Aboriginal languages 16.2% 23.8% 41.5% 8.8% 1.8% 64.2%
All other languages 3.7% 1.6% 0.4% 2.7% 7.0% 0.8%
Male Population 572,095 300,835 151,780 149,050 176,720 24,385
English 74.8% 70.6% 57.2% 97.2% 84.6% 32.8%
French 5.2% 3.1% 1.0% 6.1% 6.9% 1.4%
Aboriginal languages 16.6% 24.8% 41.3% 9.1% 1.9% 65.1%
All other languages 3.5% 1.4% 0.4% 2.9% 6.6% 0.6%

2.3 Index of Continuity

As described in the 1996 and 2001 report of Aboriginal women and language use, the census is useful to assess the continuity of a given language by comparing the number of people speaking the language at home daily to the number of people who first learned the language as their mother tongue (Hull, 2006). For the purpose of consistency with the previous studies the index of continuity is also defined as the population with a given home language divided by the population with the same mother tongue times 100. Table 5 provides these numbers for the female Registered Indian population living on and off reserve, for some 30 Aboriginal languages or language groups as well as for French and English.

Table 5: Female Registered Indian Population, by Area of Residence, Mother Tongue, Home Language and Index of Continuity, Canada, 2006 [Note 2]
Language On Reserve Off Reserve
Mother Tongue Home Language Index* Mother Tongue Home Language Index*
Total 148,185 148,185 100 174,760 174,760 100
English 78,665 84,605 108 140,305 146,055 104
French 1,600 1,520 95 11,200 8,560 76
Aboriginal languages 67,820 61,445 91 22,600 15,450 68
Algonquian 55,620 51,680 93 17,760 12,530 71
Algonquin 860 600 70 205 130 63
Attikamek 2,190 2,200 100 375 335 89
Blackfoot 1,275 1,230 96 415 325 78
Cree 29,090 26,810 92 10,675 7,835 73
Malecite 235 190 81 30 15 50
Micmac 3,675 3,235 88 305 180 59
Montagnais-Naskapi 4,445 4,490 101 980 930 95
Ojibway 8,610 7,865 91 4,150 2,290 55
Oji-Cree 5,200 5,050 97 575 485 84
Other Algonquian 35 25 71 45 15 33
Athapaskan 6,705 5,870 88 2,525 1,570 62
Carrier 550 400 73 405 220 54
Chilcotin 475 370 78 205 100 49
Chipewyan 135 90 67 130 35 27
Dene 3,175 3,040 96 950 780 82
Dogrib 840 835 99 165 100 61
Kutchin-Gwich'in 120 50 42 100 45 45
North Slave (Hare) 440 415 94 140 90 64
South Slave 595 510 86 240 120 50
Other Athapaskan 370 165 45 190 85 45
Haida 45 15 33 25 0
Iroquoian languages 10 0 0 195 75 38
Mohawk 0 0 140 60 43
Other Iroquoian 0 10 55 15 27
Kutenai 65 20 31 0 0
Salish languages 1,520 825 54 310 265 85
Dakota/Sioux 2,550 2,330 91 340 245 72
Tlingit 25 15 60 15 0
Tsimshian languages 715 465 65 490 270 55
Wakashan languages 370 155 42 205 80 39
Aboriginal languages n.i.e 140 40 29 585 290 50
Inuit languages 55 35 64 150 130 87
Other Aboriginal languages 30 615 100 4700

In Table 5 it can be seen that the greatest proportion of the population speak Cree, followed by Ojibway. Use of Aboriginal languages in general is greater on reserves, where the index of continuity is 91 compared to off reserves at an index of 68. Among the female Aboriginal population living on reserves, there are several languages where the index of continuity is 100, meaning that there are as many people currently using the language as there are people for whom it is their first language. These languages include: Attikamek, Montagnais-Naskapi, Dene, Dogrib, Oji-Cree, Blackfoot and North Slave. Off reserves, the index of continuity tends to be substantially lower; those languages that have relatively high indexes off reserve include: Attikamek, Montagnais-Naskapi, Oji-Cree, Salish languages, and Dene.

Language continuity among the female Inuit population is shown in Table 6. Table 6 indicates that the index of continuity is considerably higher for Inuit women living in urban areas (168) compared to those residing in rural areas (99). It is interesting to note that, in addition to high indices of continuity among the Inuit female population for Inuit languages, the index of continuity for English is also high for Inuit women in rural areas (103) and even higher for those in urban areas (136).

* Index of Continuity = (Number with Home Language / Number with Mother Tongue) * 100

Table 6: Female Inuit Population, by Place of Residence, Mother Tongue, Home Language and Index of Continuity, Canada, 2006
Language   Rural     Urban  
Mother Tongue Home Language Index* Mother Tongue Home Language Index*
Total 15,025 15,025 100 9,575 9,575 100
English 3,515 3,615 103 4,380 5,960 136
French 90 85 94 295 145 49
Aboriginal languages 11,410 11,275 99 4,890 8,145 167
Inuit languages 11,340 11,235 99 4,795 8,035 168
Inuktitut 11,210 11,135 99 4,715 7,955 169
Inuinnaqtun 130 100 77 80 80 100
Other languages 10 50 ... 0 70 ...

A comparison of the 2006 findings presented here, with similar information reported from the 2001 and 2006 studies suggests that the index of continuity has increased for the Inuit population over this time period. For example, in 1996 the index for the Inuit population was 84, increased to 98 in 2001, and further increased to 99 in 2006. Table 7 looks at the factors underlying the changes in the index among the Registered Indian female population from 1996 to 2006. Table 7 reveals that, while the number with an Aboriginal mother tongue declined slightly between 1996 and 2001, it increased by 2006. In addition, we also see that the number with an Aboriginal home language increased dramatically for the period 1996 to 2006, as represented by the index which rose from 66 to 85. This suggests that the use of an Aboriginal home language is very encouraging for those interested in the survival and development of Aboriginal languages. However, it is important to note that this increase could also represent a change in how people responded to the survey question rather than a change in actual language use.

Table 7: Factors Affecting Changes in the Index of Continuity among Female Registered Indian Population, Canada, 1996, 2001 and 2006
Language Measure 1996 2001 2006 Change
2001-2006
Population with Aboriginal Mother Tongue 83,432 81,820 90,425 8,605
Population with Aboriginal Home Language 55,195 70,535 76,895 6,360
Index of Continuity 66 86 85 -1

 

2.4 Knowledge of Official Languages

In 2006, 29% of First Nations people said that they could speak an Aboriginal language well enough to carry on a conversation; the percentage was much higher for First Nations people living on reserve. In 2006, half of the First Nations people living on reserve (51%) could speak in an Aboriginal language compared with 12% of those living off reserve. The First Nations' languages with the largest number of speakers in 2006 were Cree (87,285), Ojibway (30,255), Oji-Cree (12,435) and Montagnais-Naskapi (11,080) (Statistics Canada, 2009: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, Census 2006). Current research has shown that more Aboriginal people on reserve place an emphasis on their knowledge and use of Aboriginal languages compared to those individuals living off reserve. There are also differences in the degree of this emphasis when we take factors such as age and gender in consideration (Norris, 2007).

Table 8 describes the proportion of the Aboriginal population with knowledge of Canada's two official languages by identity group, sex and place of residence. The findings in the Table reveal that the vast majority of Aboriginal people (close to 80%) are able to carry on a conversation in English. Approximately 10% of the Inuit population reported they were without knowledge of either official language.

Table 8: Knowledge of Official Languages, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Knowledge of Official Languages Total Aboriginal Registered Indian Inuit Métis
Total On Reserve Off Reserve
Female Population (100%) 600,695 322,945 148,185 174,760 24,735 178,785
English 84.4 89.4 90.3 88.6 82.2 78.9
French 4.3 4.1 4.6 3.6 2.7 3.7
English & French 10.2 5.4 2.7 7.6 5.8 17.4
Neither official language 1.1 1.2 2.4 0.2 9.3 0.1
             
Male Population (100%) 572,090 300,830 151,785 149,050 24,385 176,720
English 85.0 89.9 90.8 89.0 82.9 79.2
French 4.2 3.9 4.3 3.6 2.5 3.9
English & French 9.7 4.9 2.6 7.2 4.9 16.8
Neither official language 1.1 1.3 2.3 0.3 9.7 0.1




3.0 Family and Relationships

Relationships and Families

Current research shows that Aboriginal families are different from the non-Aboriginal population in terms of marriage patterns, living arrangements and family structure. A relatively large proportion of Aboriginal women in Canada live with either their immediate or extended family. According to Statistics Canada, in 2001 slightly more (87%) of Aboriginal women aged 15 and over lived with family members, compared with 83% of both non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men. Among Aboriginal women, the Inuit were the most likely to live with family members whereby 94% reported living with either their immediate or extended families, compared to 88% North American Indian women and 84% Métis women. As well, lone-parent families headed by Aboriginal women tend to be larger than those headed by their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In 2001, 22% of Aboriginal female lone parents had three or more children, more than twice the figure for their non-Aboriginal counterparts, just 10% of whom had three or more children (Quinless, 2010).

In contrast, relatively few Aboriginal women live alone. In 2001, 9% of Aboriginal women reported living alone, compared to 14% of non-Aboriginal women. But, among Aboriginal women, Métis women were the most likely to live alone. According to O'Donnell (2005), "that year, 10% of Métis women, versus 8% of North American Indian women and just 4% of Inuit women, lived by themselves" (O'Donnell, 2005).

In addition, Aboriginal women were less likely than non-Aboriginal women to be living in husband-wife families. O'Donnell (2005) suggests that 32% of Aboriginal women aged 15 and over, versus 49% of non-Aboriginal women, lived with their husband. In contrast, Aboriginal women were more likely to be living in common-law relationships. Findings from the report indicate that 17% of Aboriginal women lived in a common-law relationship compared to 9% of non-Aboriginal women. In addition, Aboriginal women were also much more likely to be lone parents than non-Aboriginal women in 2001.

Lone Parenthood

In the mid-1990s 18.2% of all Aboriginal families in Canada were lone-parent families, 86% of which were headed by a female (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1995). In 2001, census results show that about one-third of Aboriginal families living on reserves were lone-parent families; and that the proportion of lone-parent families among Registered Indians had increased from 27% to 31% of all families from the 1996 Census. In addition, 22% percent of Registered Indian women were lone mothers, in comparison to eight percent of the non-Aboriginal population at the time of the 2001 Census (Hull, 2006).

In 2001, 19% of Aboriginal women aged 15 and over were heading families on their own, compared to 8% of non-Aboriginal women. Among Aboriginal women, North American Indians are the most likely to be lone parents. In 2001, "21% of North American Indian women over the age of 15 were lone parents, while this was the case for 17% of Inuit women and 16% of Métis women" (O'Donnell, 2005). Aboriginal families residing off reserve are more likely than other Canadian households to be headed by a female lone parent, they tend to live in cities and towns and are typically in serious need of core housing (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 1997). Social assistance is cited as the number one factor in the reduction of income instability of lone mothers and employment insurance is the second most important factor (Morissette and Ostrovsky, 2007). Another determining factor for lone mothers' income levels are their lower levels of educational attainment (Perez and Beaudet, 1999). While lone fathers are more likely to be employed than lone mothers, they are less likely to be employed compared to fathers in two-parent families. Lone fathers also tend to have lower incomes and increased poverty rates as compared to two-parent families. Yet, they do not experience the extreme disadvantages of lone-mother families (Population Studies Center: University of Western Ontario, 1999).

It is well documented that Aboriginal families in Canada are at risk of living well below the poverty line (Mann, 2007). Aboriginal lone mothers are especially vulnerable to low standards of living and have high unemployment rates in comparison to non-Aboriginal lone mothers. While the average income of non-Aboriginal women in 2002 was only about $26,000, it was still approximately $9,000 higher than that of Registered Indian single mothers. Average incomes were also lower on reserves and in urban areas than in rural areas (Hull, 2006). Major sources of income for Aboriginal lone mothers vary depending on geographic location and on- or off-reserve residence. For example, between half and three-quarters of Aboriginal lone single mothers rely on government transfers as a major source of income depending on location. Employment income of Aboriginal single mothers is much less compared to both Aboriginal married mothers and Aboriginal lone fathers. The income figures are 27% and 60% lower for Aboriginal married women and Aboriginal lone fathers, respectively (Hull, 2006). Census data from 2001 indicates that Aboriginal lone mothers have higher full-time school attendance rates in relation to both married Aboriginal mothers and Aboriginal lone fathers and are particularly likely to regularly attend postsecondary programs (Hull, 2006).

The additional challenges of discrimination, remote geographic locations, cultural differences, and language issues create further barriers that make it difficult for Aboriginal

Teen Fertility

Fertility rates of First Nations teenage girls under 20 years of age have remained high since 1986, being at least seven times higher than that of other Canadian teenagers, according to an analysis of aggregated fertility indicators. More importantly, the fertility rate for First Nations girls under the age of 15 is estimated to be approximately 18 times higher than that of other Canadians (Guimond and Robitaille, 2008). Early motherhood can increase the vulnerability of First Nations women who are already at a socio-economic disadvantage. Research suggests that having children while in their teens can increase the vulnerability of young First Nations women resulting in increased dependence on income assistance, levels of low income and poverty, academic under-achievement, reduced employability, and lone parenthood.

Not only do these socio-economic factors affect the lives of these young women but also their children. For example, issues range from at-risk teenage mothers not receiving proper prenatal care and consequently having babies with insufficient birth weights and fetal alcohol syndrome, to children who are at a higher risk of neglect and abuse and placed in the custody of social services, when compared to older Aboriginal mothers and non-Aboriginal mothers (Guimond and Robitaille, 2008; Luong, 2008). Teen fertility has now become a critical issue directly pertinent to Aboriginal women because having children at a young age often places these women at a serious socio-economic disadvantage, when compared to non-Aboriginal mothers. This in turn, can have long and devastating impacts on their lives as well as those of their children as it pushes them further into the margins of social life (Guimond and Robitaille, 2008).

In 2006, the research continues to show that Aboriginal families are different from the non-Aboriginal population in terms of marriage patterns, living arrangements and family structure. In 2006, more Aboriginal women were less likely to be legally married and more likely to live in common-law relationships, had more children, and were more likely to be a lone parent and tended to live with either immediate or extended family when compared to non-Aboriginal women. Table 9 shows the marital status of Aboriginal women by identity group and place of residence in 2006. From the Table it is clear to see that fewer Aboriginal women reported being legally married (48%) compared to non-Aboriginal women (58%). This proportion was lowest for Registered Indian women both on reserve (47%) and off reserve (48%) when compared to the other Aboriginal identity groups. Table 9 also shows that divorce rates were highest for Métis women (7%) followed by  non-Aboriginal women (6%), Registered Indian women on reserve (5%), Registered Indian women off reserve (3%) and Inuit women (2%).

3.1 Marital Status

Table 9: Marital Status of Aboriginal Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Marital Status Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
    On reserve Off reserve      
Legally married (and notseparated) 48.3% 46.6% 47.6% 51.2% 50.7% 57.8%
Separated but still legally married 3.9% 3.9% 3.1% 2.0% 4.1% 2.7%
Divorced 6.1% 5.3% 3.0% 2.3% 7.0% 6.6%
Widowed 5.1% 5.5% 6.2% 5.0% 4.6% 8.7%
Never married 36.6% 38.6% 40.0% 39.6% 33.6% 24.2%

Table 10 reports higher percentages of common-law relationships among the Aboriginal women (18%) when compared to non-Aboriginal women (10%). Among the Aboriginal identity groups we see that more Inuit women were in a common-law relationship in 2006 (22%) compared to Registered Indian women (20%), followed my Métis women (15%).

Table 10: Common-law Status of Aboriginal Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Common-law Status Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
      On reserve   Off reserve      
Not in a common-law relationship 82.5% 80.4% 81.6% 77.9% 85.5% 89.8%
In a common-law relationship 17.5% 19.6% 18.4% 22.1% 14.5% 10.2%

 

3.2 Fertility and Family Size

Table 11 shows the number of children in the census family by Aboriginal identity. The proportion of families that had only one child was somewhat consistent among Aboriginal women (29%) and non-Aboriginal women (27%). However, striking differences can be observed between these two groups when one examines the proportion of families with three or more children; close to 20% of Aboriginal families reported three or more children compared to 10% of non-Aboriginal families. We also see that more Inuit families were likely to have more than three children (31%) compared to Registered Indian families (22%) and Métis families (12%).

Table 11: Number of Children in the Family, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006
# Children Total
Aboriginal
Registered
Indian
Inuit Métis Non-Aboriginal
0 30.0% 24.2% 15.2% 36.8% 38.8%
1 29.3% 30.7% 30.0% 27.6% 27.2%
2 23.6% 23.7% 24.2% 23.8% 24.0%
3+ 17.1% 21.5% 30.6% 11.7% 9.9%

It is important to consider number of children when attempting to understand the social and economic conditions of any Aboriginal family. On the one hand, while larger families offer much personal and emotional fulfilment, on the other hand they can also face greater economic and social challenges, which have further implications for educational, health, housing and social services systems. Underlying population growth and family size is the fertility rate of the population. Figure 6 illustrates the observed and projected total fertility rate of Registered Indian women from 1976 through 2021. The total fertility rate is the average number of children per female according to the fertility in a given year computed by the summation of the series of age-specific fertility rates. As the figure shows the Registered Indian fertility rates have been declining since 1976 and are expected to continue to decline through 2021 (Hull, 2001) [Note 3].

Figure 6: Total Fertility Rate among Registered Indian Women, Canada, 1976-2021

Figure 6: Total Fertility Rate among Registered Indian Women, Canada, 1976-2021
Description of figure 6: Total Fertility Rate among Registered Indian Women, Canada, 1976-2021

This image is a trendline chart showing the total fertility rates of Registered Indian women, in Canada, for the period 1976 to 2021 (1976 to 2000 observed and 2001 to 2021 projected). The source for the data used in the chart is: Development and Demographic Methods Section, Demography Division, Statistics Canada, 2002.

The X axis offers the years by increments of one from 1974 up to 2021, from left to right in the following order:

Observed from 1976 to 2000
1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000
Projected from 2001 to 2021

2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021

The Y axis is measured by the number of children per women by increments of one from 0 up to 5.

In 1976, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 4.0
In 1977, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.7
In 1978, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.6
In 1979, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.5
In 1980, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.4
In 1981, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.3
In 1982, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.4
In 1983, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.3
In 1984, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.4
In 1985, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.5
In 1986, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.5
In 1987, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.4
In 1988, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.3
In 1989, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.2
In 1990, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.2
In 1991, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.2
In 1992, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.2
In 1993, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.1
In 1994, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.1
In 1995, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 3.0
In 1996, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 2.9
In 1997, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 2.9
In 1998, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 2.9
In 1999, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 2.9
In 2000, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was 2.9
In 2001, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.9
In 2002, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.8
In 2003, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.8
In 2004, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.8
In 2005, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.8
In 2006, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.8
In 2007, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.7
In 2008, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.7
In 2009, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.7
In 2010, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.7
In 2011, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.7
In 2012, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.6
In 2013, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.6
In 2014, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.5
In 2015, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.5
In 2016, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.5
In 2017, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.5
In 2018, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.4
In 2019, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.4
In 2020, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.4

In 2021, the total fertility rate for Registered Indian women in Canada was projected at 2.4

3.3 Family Structure

In 2006, a significantly larger proportion of Canadian Aboriginal children aged 14 and under lived with a lone mother (29%), compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts (14%). In addition, more Aboriginal children aged 14 and under lived with a lone father (6%) compared to the non-Aboriginal children (3%). It is well documented that lone-parent families in Canada and other industrialized nations typically experience lower social and economic outcomes compared to intact families and are at greater risk of living in poverty and its associated substandard living conditions (Quinless, 2010).

Table 12 shows that in 2006 there were fewer Aboriginal coupled families (76%) compared to non-Aboriginal coupled families (85%); this proportion was lowest among Registered Indian people living on reserve (63%) and highest for the Métis population (83%). Figure 7 shows that there were more Aboriginal lone-mother families (20%), compared to non-Aboriginal lone-mother families (12%). Among the Aboriginal identity groups we see that the majority of lone-mother families were Registered Indian living on reserve (28%), when compared to Registered Indian (living off reserve) and Inuit lone-mother families (23% in both cases), and Métis lone-mother families (14%). There is a somewhat similar pattern among lone-father families within the Aboriginal population.

Table 12: Census Family Structure, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Census Family Structure Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
On Reserve Off Reserve
Total 394,185 77,790 119,040 12,615 134,765 8,502,665
             
Couples families* 75.6% 63.1% 73.4% 70.6% 82.7% 84.5%
Male lone-parent families 4.9% 9.7% 4.0% 6.8% 3.2% 3.1%
Female lone-parent families 19.5% 27.2% 22.5% 22.5% 14.1% 12.4%

* includes common-law and same sex.

Figure 7: Female Lone-Parent  Families,  by Identity Group, Canada,  2006

Figure 7: Female Lone-Parent  Families,  by Identity Group, Canada,  2006

Text description for Figure 7: Female Lone-Parent Families, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a vertical bar graph illustrating the percentage distribution of female lone-parent families, by identity group, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of five from 0 up to 50.

The X axis is divided into six bars showing the identity groups. On the X axis, from left to right, there is a bar for Total Aboriginal, Registered Indian On reserve, Registered Indian Off reserve, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Total Aboriginal is 19.5% in 2006.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Registered Indian living on reserves is 27.2% in 2006.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Registered Indian living off reserve is 22.5% in 2006.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Inuit is 22.5% in 2006.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Métis is 14.1% in 2006.

The percentage of female-lone parent families for Non-Aboriginal is 12.4% in 2006.





4.0 Educational Attainment

Educational Attainment

Research studies have consistently shown that, over the past decade, Aboriginal women seem to achieve slightly better educational outcomes when compared to Aboriginal men (Hull, 2006, Statistics Canada 2005 and 2007). For example, in 2001 First Nations women aged 25 to 64 were more likely to have completed a postsecondary education than First Nations men in this age group (44% versus 39%), regardless of place of residence (on or off reserve) or Registered Indian Status (Norris, 2007). According to Stonechild (2006), part of the reason for higher rates of educational achievement among Aboriginal women attests to the strength and determination of this group to overcome multiple barriers of gendered racism [Note 4], primary responsibility for childcare, lower incomes and exposure to violence. However, this should not detract our attention from the educational needs of Aboriginal women or remove them from primary policy consideration.

According to O'Donnell (2005) there are considerable "gaps" in educational attainment between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. In particular, this report shows that there is a large gap between the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women with university degrees. For example, "in 2001, only 7% of Aboriginal women aged 25 and over had a university degree, compared with 17% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts". However, Aboriginal women "were slightly more likely to have a university degree than Aboriginal men, only 5% of whom had completed university. Indeed, women made up 62% of Aboriginal people aged 25 and over with a university degree that year" (O'Donnell, 2005). While Aboriginal women have shown to have higher educational achievements compared to Aboriginal men, they still face many challenges in secondary and postsecondary systems and their graduation rates are lower when compared to non-Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal men. For example, for those Aboriginal women aged 25 to 44 living off reserve, who had started but had not completed a postsecondary program, 34% reported it was due to family responsibilities, 21% reported financial reasons, 12% lost interest/motivation and 8% got a job or had to work. Meanwhile, 24% of Aboriginal men in this age range living off reserve attributed this to financial reasons and a significantly lower proportion (11%) attributed this to family responsibilities (O'Donnell, 2005).

While postsecondary rates in 2001 tended to be higher among Aboriginal women when compared to Aboriginal men, it should be noted that Aboriginal women were somewhat less likely to have completed high school (40%) versus 44% for Aboriginal men. In addition, 40% of Aboriginal women aged 25 and over did not graduate from high school, compared to 29% among non-Aboriginal women. O'Donnell (2005) suggests that this may be attributed to the fact that many Aboriginal women, especially those living off reserve and between 15 to 19 years old, reported leaving school prior to completion due to pregnancy and childcare. O'Donnell (2005) states that "one in five (20%) female Aboriginal school leavers in this age group gave this reason, while the second most common reason was ‘boredom' (15%)".

Research by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation has shown that on average Aboriginal university and college students tend to be mature students compared to their non-Aboriginal counterparts and are also more likely to be married or to have children. A general examination into the area of Aboriginal women and postsecondary education in Canada reveals that, while many First Nations women do not complete high school compared to non-Aboriginal women, there is evidence that these women return to school later in life. Hence, this issue is not that they do not eventually pursue postsecondary education but rather their pathways to postsecondary education is different when compared to other individuals in the overall Canadian population (Holmes, 2006).

It is well documented that educational attainment is an important socio-economic determinant of employment and income outcomes. It is also closely related to socio-economic status and various other social circumstances ranging from housing affordability, adequate childcare and healthcare. As Milligan and Bougie (2009) further suggest, research is needed to fully understand the relationship between education and labour market outcomes for Aboriginal women. In particular, it is important to investigate the relationship between postsecondary education, employment and income whether temporary or permanent or full- or part-time jobs; and, whether the employment incomes of Aboriginal women are similar to those of Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal women while controlling for educational attainment.

4.1 Highest Level of Schooling

In this section educational attainment is described in terms of an individual's highest level of schooling and, for those who have completed postsecondary education, in terms of the major field of study.

Educational attainment is captured by the census as the "highest level of schooling." This concept imposes a hierarchical structure to schooling from elementary school through secondary and postsecondary education. Individuals are identified only in terms of the highest level they have achieved, and while there may be instances where people have attended both various levels of postsecondary programs (college and university), information is only captured for their highest level of actual "certification".

Table 13 reveals the highest level of schooling by identity group, sex and place of residence. The table excludes those who were attending school full-time during 2005-2006 on the grounds that they have not completed their schooling yet (and to be consistent with the 2001 profile of Aboriginal women). It can be seen that close to 23% of Aboriginal women have secondary school attainment and 36% have some level of postsecondary school attainment. A larger proportion of women (41%) have no degree or certificate. Table 13 illustrates that slightly more Aboriginal females (just under 36%) have postsecondary education, when compared to Aboriginal males (33%). However, these percentages are still lower when compared to non-Aboriginal females (50%) and males (52%). While a relatively equal proportion of both Aboriginal females had trades training or other non-university (25%) compared to non-Aboriginal females (27%), Table 13 further shows that there are considerably lower percentages of Aboriginal females (7%) who had obtained a university degree when compared to both non-Aboriginal females (19%) and males (19%). However, in 2006 the proportion of Aboriginal females with a university degree was slightly higher when compared to the Aboriginal males at 5%.

Table 13: Highest Level of Schooling, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
  Aboriginal Identity Non-Aboriginal
  Male Female Male Female
Total - Highest degree, certificate or diploma 393,685 430,210 12,077,100 12,763,230
No degree, certificate or diploma 46.3% 41.2% 23.4% 22.8%
High school diploma or equivalent only 20.6% 22.9% 24.4% 26.8%
Postsecondary education 33.0% 35.9% 52.2% 50.3%
Trades/apprenticeship or other non university 26.5% 25.4% 29.6% 26.8%
University certificate below bachelor level 2.1% 3.4% 3.9% 5.0%
University with degree 4.5% 7.1% 18.6% 18.5%
  Registered Indian
  On Reserve Off Reserve
  Male Female Male Female
Total - Highest degree, certificate or diploma 99,705 98,605 100,230 128,950
No degree, certificate or diploma 62.2% 57.4% 43.4% 38.7%
High school diploma or equivalent only 13.3% 16.3% 22.7% 23.0%
Postsecondary education 24.5% 26.3% 33.9% 38.3%
Trades/apprenticeship or other non university 20.8% 18.7% 26.2% 26.3%
University certificate below bachelor level 2.0% 3.5% 2.4% 3.7%
University with degree 1.8% 4.2% 5.2% 8.3%
  Inuit Métis
  Male Female Male Female
Total - Highest degree, certificate or diploma 15,525 16,295 130,145 134,795
No degree, certificate or diploma 61.8% 60.7% 36.6% 31.8%
High school diploma or equivalent only 12.4% 14.0% 24.5% 27.1%
Postsecondary education 25.8% 25.3% 38.8% 41.1%
Trades/apprenticeship or other non university 23.1% 20.0% 30.6% 29.4%
University certificate below bachelor level 1.1% 2.0% 2.1% 3.4%
University with degree 1.6% 3.4% 6.1% 8.3%

Figure 8 compares the educational attainment levels of different identity groups. It can be seen that Inuit women and Registered Indian women on reserves have lower levels of educational attainment than non-Aboriginal women, or Registered Indian women living off reserve.  In fact, one of the most striking differences among the Registered Indian female population with respect to educational attainment appears to be related to place of residence. While 57% of Registered Indian females living on reserve had no degree or diploma this percentage dropped to 39% for those living off reserve. In addition, for those Registered Indian women living on reserve only 4% had obtained a university degree compared to 8% who were living off reserve. Métis women have been especially successful, with 41% having some level of postsecondary education, 8% of which are university degree holders compared to 32% who reported having no degree or diploma. Among Inuit women, in contrast, the corresponding proportions are 25% with postsecondary attainment, of which 3% are university obtainers and 61% have no degree or diploma. It can also be seen that the non-Aboriginal population has a higher level of educational attainment than any of the Aboriginal identity groups, especially when comparing the percentages with university attainment. While the proportion of Aboriginal women with a university degree ranges from 3% (among Inuit women) to 8% (among off-reserve Registered Indian women), the proportion among the non-Aboriginal population is 19%.

Figure 8: Highest Level of Schooling for Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Figure 8: Highest Level of Schooling for Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Text description for Figure 8. Highest Level of Schooling for Women, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a stacked bar graph illustrating the distribution of the Registered Indian women (by place residence: on or off reserve), Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal women, by highest level of schooling, in Canada, as of 2006. Educational attainment is a term used also for an individual's highest level of schooling. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into five identity groups, from left to right, are Registered Indian (on reserve), Registered Indian (off reserve), Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

Each vertical bar represents 100% of the female population for a specific identity group, depicting the percentage distribution of women by educational attainment levels.

The percentage of Registered Indian women living on reserves with No degree, certificate or diploma is, 57.4%; with a High school diploma or equivalent, 16.3%; with a trade or apprenticeship certificate or other non university, 18.7%; with a university certificate below a bachelor level, 3.5%, and with a university degree, 4.2%, in 2006.

The percentage of Registered Indian women living off reserve with No degree, certificate or diploma is, 38.7%; with a High school diploma or equivalent, 23.0%; with a trade or apprenticeship certificate or other non university, 26.3%; with a university certificate below a bachelor level, 3.7% and with a university degree, 8.3%, in 2006.

The percentage of Inuit women with No degree, certificate or diploma is, 60.7%; with a High school diploma or equivalent, 14.0%; with a trade or apprenticeship certificate or other non university, 20.0%; with a university certificate below a bachelor level, 2.0% and with a university degree, 3.4%, in 2006.

The percentage of Métis women with No degree, certificate or diploma is, 31.8%; with a High school diploma or equivalent, 27.1%; with a trade or apprenticeship certificate or other non university, 29.4%; with a university certificate below a bachelor level, 3.4% and with a university degree, 8.3%, in 2006.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal women with No degree, certificate or diploma is, 22.8%; with a High school diploma or equivalent, 26.8%; with a trade or apprenticeship certificate or other non university, 26.8%; with a university certificate below a bachelor level, 5.0% and with a university degree, 18.5%, in 2006.


4.2 Major Field of Study

The 2006 census included a question asking graduates of postsecondary programs to identity the field of study of their highest certificate or degree. Table 14 shows the distribution of men and women with post-secondary qualifications by major field of study, identity and place of residence.

In Table 14 we see that the highest proportion of Aboriginal women is found in the field of business, management and public administration (30%) as well as health, parks, recreation and fitness (22%). Meanwhile, very few Aboriginal women (less than 2%) have qualifications in physical and life sciences and agriculture and natural resources.  This distribution pattern is similar among women in the various Aboriginal identity groups, with some minor differences. For example, we see that Registered Indian women on reserves (29%), Inuit women (30%) and Métis women (29%) tend to have higher representation in the field of education.

Meanwhile Aboriginal men (47%) have higher representation in the fields of architecture, engineering and related technologies compared to only 4% of Aboriginal women. Aboriginal men also comprise a larger representation in the fields of personal, protective and transportation services (14%) compared to Aboriginal women (9%).

Table 14: Major Field of Study for those with Postsecondary Education, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
  Aboriginal Identity Non-Aboriginal
  Male Female Male Female
Population with Postsecondary Education 130065 154465 6303230 6424715
Education 3.7% 9.9% 3.9% 11.4%
Visual and performing arts and communication technologies 2.8% 2.6% 3.5% 4.0%
Humanities 3.1% 4.1% 4.4% 6.6%
Social and behavioural sciences and law 5.2% 12.5% 7.0% 12.5%
Business, management and public administration 11.0% 29.6% 15.9% 27.1%
Physical and life sciences and technologies 1.3% 1.1% 3.9% 3.2%
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 3.3% 3.3% 5.4% 3.4%
Architecture, engineering and related technologies 46.6% 3.6% 41.9% 3.4%
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 4.4% 1.7% 3.1% 1.3%
Health, parks, recreation and fitness 4.9% 22.3% 5.0% 21.3%
Personal, protective and transportation services 13.5% 9.2% 5.9% 5.8%
Other 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Registered Indian On Reserve Off Reserve
  Male Female Male Female
Population with Postsecondary Education 24475 25980 33930 49345
Education 4.4% 15.2% 3.7% 9.4%
Visual/performing arts & communication technologies 1.5% 1.3% 3.7% 2.7%
Humanities 3.2% 4.9% 3.6% 4.3%
Social and behavioural sciences and law 4.0% 15.4% 6.8% 12.9%
Business, management and public administration 10.4% 29.6% 11.9% 30.4%
Physical and life sciences and technologies 0.6% 0.4% 1.3% 0.9%
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 1.6% 2.5% 3.8% 3.3%
Architecture, engineering and related technologies 42.2% 3.8% 44.0% 3.3%
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 7.7% 1.5% 3.8% 1.6%
Health, parks, recreation and fitness 5.1% 18.0% 4.7% 22.0%
Personal, protective and transportation services 19.2% 7.3% 12.6% 9.3%
Other 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
  Inuit Métis
  Male Female Male Female
Population with Postsecondary Education 4000 4120 50535 55460
Education 3.1% 13.7% 3.7% 8.7%
Visual/performing arts & communication technologies 3.0% 3.8% 2.6% 2.6%
Humanities 2.1% 5.1% 2.8% 3.6%
Social and behavioural sciences and law 4.0% 15.8% 5.0% 10.6%
Business, management and public administration 9.3% 31.3% 11.0% 29.4%
Physical and life sciences and technologies 2.5% 0.8% 1.6% 1.6%
Mathematics, computer and information sciences 2.4% 3.9% 3.6% 3.3%
Architecture, engineering and related technologies 44.9% 3.6% 49.8% 3.8%
Agriculture, natural resources and conservation 4.9% 1.0% 3.5% 1.7%
Health, parks, recreation and fitness 4.0% 13.0% 5.1% 25.2%
Personal, protective and transportation services 19.8% 7.6% 11.4% 9.5%
Other 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Total 99.9% 99.6% 100.0% 100.0%

Figure 9: Distribution of Canadian Women with a Post-Secondary Certification in Business, Management and Public Administration, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Figure 9: Distribution of Canadian Women with a Post-Secondary Certification in Business, Management and Public Administration, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

Text description for Figure 9: Distribution of Canadian Women with a Post-Secondary Certification in Business, Management and Public Administration, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a vertical bar chart illustrating the distribution of Canadian Women with post-secondary certification in fields of business, management and public administration by identity group and place of residence.

The Y axis is measured by percentage points beginning at 25% and finishing at 32%.

The X axis is divided into five groups, Registered Indian women on reserve, Registered Indian women off reserve, Inuit women, Métis women and non-Aboriginal women.  

The percentage of Registered Indian women on reserve with post secondary certification in the fields of business, management and public administration is: 29.6.

The percentage of Registered Indian women off reserve with post secondary certification in the fields of business, management and public administration is: 30.4.

The percentage of Inuit women with post secondary certification in the fields of business, management and public administration is: 31.3.

The percentage of Métis women with post secondary certification in the fields of business, management and public administration is: 29.4.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal women with post secondary certification in the fields of business, management and public administration is: 27.1.


In general, we see from Figure 9 that the distribution of Aboriginal women by major field of study is similar for the field of business, management and public administration regardless of identity group and place of residence. For example, the highest percentage of Registered Indian women living on reserve (29.6%) are represented in the fields of business, management and public administration, which is similar to Registered Indian women living off reserve (30.4%) as well as Inuit women (31.3%), Métis women (29.4%) and even non-Aboriginal women (27.1%). In addition, Aboriginal women, regardless of identity group and place of residence, are extremely underrepresented in the fields of physical and life sciences and technologies.




5.0 Employment and Occupations

Employment and Occupations

According to Statistics Canada, the employment rate for Aboriginal people increased six percentage points to 66% in 2006 from 2001. However, this is still significantly lower when compared to the 82% employment rate of the non-Aboriginal population in 2006 (Canada Year Book, 2009). The employment rate for Aboriginal people (aged 25 to 54) was highest in Alberta, where it reached 78% in 2007 and thus "the strength of the labour market appears to have benefited both non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Albertans" (Statistics Canada, 2008). According to these findings, the employment rate gap between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population was the narrowest in the province of Alberta. In fact, when compared to other Canadian provinces, the employment rate in Alberta for Aboriginal people witnessed a greater increase compared to the non-Aboriginal population. In contrast, Saskatchewan had the widest gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal employment rates "despite being the province with the highest overall employment rate for persons aged 25 to 54". The findings further show that educational level and employment rate were highly correlated for both groups (Statistics Canada, 2008).

This section of the study examines aspects of employment including labour force activity as well as occupations and unpaid childcare.

 

5.1 Labour Market Indicators

Labour market activity is commonly measured in terms of three indicators. The labour force participation rate is the percentage of the adult population that is either employed (for wages or salaries) or actively looking for work. The unemployment rate is the percentage of labour force participants who are unemployed and looking for work. The employment rate is the percentage of the total population that is employed (for wages or salaries). Table 15 provides these rates along with the population counts from which the rates are calculated for women and for the various identity groups. In addition, the Table further sub-divides the unemployed population into experienced and inexperienced sub-groups. The inexperienced labour force is made up of those, as of Census Day 2006, who were looking for work but who had not been employed in either 2005 or 2006. The inexperience rate is defined as the percentage of labour force participants who were "inexperienced".

Table 15: Labour Force Activity of the Female Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
 
Labour Force Activity Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
    On Reserve Off Reserve      
             
Women 15+ Years 430,205 98,605 128,955 16,295 134,795 12,763,230
             
Labour Force Participants 254,270 47,680 74,940 9,565 90,065 7,871,270
Employed 220,045 37,900 63,930 7,995 81,705 7,369,605
Unemployed 34,230 9,775 11,010 1,570 8,360 501,660
Unemployed experienced 23,410 5,750 7,735 1,150 6,410 363,310
Unemployed inexperienced 10,815 4,030 3,275 425 1,955 138,350
Not in the labour force 175,935 50,925 54,010 6,725 44,735 4,891,960
             
Participation rate % 59 48 58 59 67 62
Unemployment rate % 14 21 15 16 9 6
Employment rate % 51 38 50 49 61 58

Table 15 shows that, at the time of the 2006 census, the labour force participation rate among Aboriginal women was 59%, up 2 percentage points from 2001. This rate, however, was slightly lower than the rate among non-Aboriginal women of 58%. Table 15 further shows that there are differences in participation rates among the various Aboriginal identity groups. The rate among Registered Indian women on reserve was 38% compared to a much higher rate for those women living off reserve at 50%. We also see that among the other Aboriginal identity groups it ranged from 61% among Métis women to 49% among Inuit women. Table 16 shows a similar pattern is found among Aboriginal men, except that men's labour force participation tended to be higher regardless of the place of residence when compared to Aboriginal women across all identity groups.

Table 16: Labour Force Activity of the Male Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Labour Force Activity Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
    On Reserve Off Reserve      
             
Men 15+ Years 393,680 99,705 100,230 15,525 130,145 12,077,100
             
Labour Force Participants 264,980 55,400 69,020 9,865 96,655 8,755,615
Employed 222,350 39,520 58,805 7,485 86,685 8,209,175
Unemployed 42,630 15,880 10,215 2,375 9,970 546,440
Unemployed experienced 31,475 10,530 7,740 1,895 8,185 421,800
Unemployed inexperienced 11,150 5,345 2,475 485 1,785 124,635
Not in the labour force 128,700 44,305 31,210 5,655 33,495 3,321,490
             
Participation rate % 67 56 69 64 74 73
Unemployment rate % 16 29 15 24 10 6
Employment rate % 57 40 59 48 67 68

Table 15 also shows that the unemployment rate among Aboriginal women was 14% at the time of the 2006 census, more than double the rate of non-Aboriginal women (6%). Again, as was observed with the participation rates, the unemployment rates also varied substantially among Aboriginal identity groups. The highest rates were those of Registered Indian women on reserve (21%), and Inuit women (16%) and Registered Indian women off reserve (15%). The unemployment rate of Métis women was at 9% only slightly higher than the unemployment rate of non-Aboriginal women at 6%. For all of the Aboriginal identity groups, women's unemployment rates were lower than those of their male counterparts. The difference between men and women's unemployment rates were much larger for some identity groups than for others and this difference was especially large among the on-reserve Registered Indian population, for whom the men's unemployment rate was 29% and the male Inuit population unemployment rate was 24% compared to their female counterparts.

The employment rate among Aboriginal women at the time of the census was 51%, compared to an employment rate of 58% among non-Aboriginal women. Again, there was a substantial difference among Aboriginal identity groups, with the lowest employment rates found among Registered Indian women on reserve (38%), off reserve (50%) and among Inuit women (49%). The highest employment rates were among Métis women (61%), which was slightly higher than among non-Aboriginal women (58%). The gaps between Aboriginal women's and men's employment rates were not as large as the gap in labour force participation rates, ranging of a difference of one to seven percentage points.

5.2 Educational Attainment, Age and Labour Market Indicators

Labour market activity is affected by many factors including age and educational attainment. Table 17 illustrates the relationship between educational attainment and labour force indicators for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, using 4 main levels of educational attainment:

  1. No degree, certificate or diploma;
  2. High school diploma or higher;
  3. High School diploma or equivalent; and
  4. Postsecondary education.

The findings in Figure 10 shows that labour force participation increases dramatically with higher levels of education, especially as we move from the lowest level of no degree to a postsecondary. Figure 10 further shows that Aboriginal women have slightly higher participation rates than non-Aboriginal at each educational level. The fact that Aboriginal women have higher participation rates could be attributed to differences in the age distributions of the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations. Whereby a larger proportion of non-Aboriginal women are 45 or older and women in the older age groups have lower participation rates than younger women. This results in lower average participation rates among non-Aboriginal women that normally would be found in a younger population.

Figure 10: Participation Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 10: Participation Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and  Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 10: Participation Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

This is a vertical bar graph that illustrates the participations rates (in percent) for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women aged 15 years and over, by highest level of schooling, in 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is comprised of four educational attainment levels. On the X axis from left to right, the educational attainment levels are: No degree, certificate or diploma; high school diploma; high school diploma or equivalent, and postsecondary education.

Each educational level has two vertical bars, one for Aboriginal women and one for non-Aboriginal women, depicting the participation rates at each educational level.

The participation rate of women aged 15 years and over, with no degree, certificate or diploma is 37%, for Aboriginal and 34%, for Non-Aboriginal.

The participation rate of women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or higher is 74% for Aboriginal and 70 % for Non-Aboriginal.

The participation rate of women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or equivalent is 68% for Aboriginal and 62% for Non-Aboriginal.

The participation rate of women aged 15 years and over, with postsecondary education for is 78% for Aboriginal and 74% for Non-Aboriginal.

The findings in Figure 11 display the relationship between educational attainment and unemployment rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. From this we see that among both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women unemployment rates decline, as educational attainment increases. As would be expected, there is an inverse relationship between participation rates and unemployment rates (as participation rates increase we expect to see a decline in unemployment rates). That being said, the largest drop in unemployment rates is greatest as we move from those who reported no degree or diploma to those with at least a high school diploma. There is little difference in unemployment rates between those Aboriginal women with a secondary school certificate and those with some level of postsecondary education (most likely without a certification). The unemployment rates are highest among Aboriginal women, regardless of educational level when compared to the rates of non-Aboriginal women. However, it can be seen that educational attainment has a strong impact on employment for both groups, particularly when moving from less than secondary education to secondary completion.

Figure 11: Unemployment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 11: Unemployment Rates  for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by  Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Text description for Figure 11: Unemployment Rates for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

This is a vertical bar graph that illustrates the unemployment rates (in percent) for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal women aged 15 years and over, by highest level of educational attainment, in 2006.The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of five from 0 up to 50.

The X axis is comprised of four educational attainment levels. On the X axis from left to right, the educational attainment levels are: No degree, certificate or diploma; high school diploma; high school diploma or equivalent, and postsecondary education.

Each educational level has two vertical bars, one for Aboriginal women and one for non-Aboriginal women, depicting the unemployment rates at each educational level.

The unemployment rate for women aged 15 years and over, with no degree, certificate or diploma is 22% for Aboriginal and 11% for Non-Aboriginal.

The unemployment rate for women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or higher is 11% for Aboriginal and 6% for Non-Aboriginal.

The unemployment rate for women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or equivalent is 13% for Aboriginal and 7% for Non-Aboriginal.

The unemployment rate for women aged 15 years and over, with postsecondary education is 10% for Aboriginal and 5% for Non-Aboriginal.


As Figure 12 shows, there is very little difference in employment rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women. However, the rates increase dramatically for those who have achieved high school completion when compared to those who do no have a high school diploma.

Figure 12: Employment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

Figure 12:  Employment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and  Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 12: Employment Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006

This is a vertical bar graph that illustrates the employment rates (in percent) for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal women aged 15 years and over, by highest level of educational attainment, in 2006.The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is comprised of four educational attainment levels. On the X axis from left to right, the educational attainment levels are: No degree, certificate or diploma; high school diploma; high school diploma or equivalent, and postsecondary education.

Each educational level has two vertical bars, one for Aboriginal women and one for non-Aboriginal women, depicting the employment rates at each education level.

The employment rate of women aged 15 years and over, with no degree, certificate or diploma is 29% for Aboriginal and 30% for Non-Aboriginal.

The employment rate of women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or higher is 67% for Aboriginal and 66% for Non-Aboriginal.

The employment rate of women aged 15 years and over, with high school diploma or equivalent  is 59% for Aboriginal and 58% for Non-Aboriginal.

The employment rate of women aged 15 years and over, with postsecondary education is 71% for Aboriginal and 70% for Non-Aboriginal.

The relationship between education and labour force participation is shown in greater detail in Table 17 for each of the Aboriginal identity groups. It can be seen that, for some identity groups and levels of education, Inuit or Métis women may have higher participation rates than Registered Indian women. This could imply that there are other factors (in addition to age and education) that could be playing a role in labour force participation such as household income or even the effects of regional labour markets.

Table 17: Labour Force Indicators for Women Aged 15 Years and Over, by Identity Group and Highest Level of Schooling, Canada, 2006
Highest Level of Schooling
 and Aboriginal Identity
Participation
Rate %
Unemployment
Rate %
Employment
 Rate %
Total Aboriginal      
No degree, certificate or diploma 37 22 29
High school diploma or higher 74 11 67
High school diploma or equivalent only 68 13 59
Postsecondary education 78 10 71
Registered Indian      
No degree, certificate or diploma 33 26 25
High school diploma or higher 72 13 62
High school diploma or equivalent only 64 17 53
Postsecondary education 77 12 68
Inuit      
No degree, certificate or diploma 46 22 36
High school diploma or higher 78 11 69
High school diploma or equivalent only 72 13 62
Postsecondary education 81 10 73
Métis      
No degree, certificate or diploma 44 15 38
High school diploma or higher 77 8 71
High school diploma or equivalent only 73 9 66
Postsecondary education 80 7 75
Non-Aboriginal      
No degree, certificate or diploma 34 11 30
High school diploma or higher 70 6 66
High school diploma or equivalent only 62 7 58
Postsecondary education 74 5 70

 

5.3 Occupations

While occupational data can be presented in a variety of ways, for purposes of this analysis this study uses occupational classifications according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC). The NOC organizes occupations into categories based on skill types and skill levels. This allows occupations to be grouped into four broad hierarchical skill levels based on the extent of education and training required for a given occupation: Level A, Level B, Level C, and Level D.

Table 18 shows the distributions for women and men in 14 occupations within these 4 skill levels by identity group. Occupations within Level A require the most extensive education and training, while occupations within Level D require the least education and training. In general, Aboriginal women tend to be found in semi-skilled occupations and especially in sales and service occupations. The largest proportion of Aboriginal women is found within Level C, which is comprised of semi-skilled occupations such as clerical and sales and service occupations. This category accounts for 37% of Aboriginal women in the labour force. Another 19% of Aboriginal women are found in other sales and service occupations (Level D). Aboriginal women's occupational distributions are also somewhat different from those of non-Aboriginal women, at least when Level A and D occupations are compared. The proportion of non-Aboriginals in Level A occupations is 26% compared to 19% among Aboriginal women, while the proportion in Level D occupations is about 5% lower.

Table 18: Occupations of Experienced Female Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Gender and Occupation (NOC)
Total Aboriginal Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-Aboriginal
Women in the labour force 243,455 115,320 9,145 88,110 7,732,915
           
Level A 19.2% 20.2% 21.8% 18.5% 26.4%
Senior Managers 0.8% 1.0% 0.9% 0.5% 0.7%
Middle Managers 5.3% 5.0% 4.7% 5.6% 6.9%
Professionals 13.2% 14.2% 16.1% 12.4% 18.8%
Level B 25.6% 25.7% 27.4% 25.9% 25.8%
Semi-professionals and Technicians 10.7% 11.9% 14.6% 9.4% 9.3%
Supervisors - Clerical, Sales and Services 1.5% 1.3% 1.1% 1.8% 1.6%
Supervisors: Trades and Primary Industries 0.7% 0.5% 0.1% 1.1% 1.0%
Administrative and Senior Clerical 7.0% 6.6% 7.8% 7.5% 9.1%
Skilled Sales and Services 4.5% 4.2% 3.3% 4.9% 3.9%
Skilled Crafts and Trades 1.1% 1.0% 0.5% 1.2% 0.9%
Level C 36.5% 34.5% 28.4% 38.8% 35.2%
Clerical 14.1% 13.2% 14.0% 15.3% 14.7%
Intermediate Sales and Services 18.0% 16.8% 12.4% 19.6% 16.2%
Semi-skilled Manual Workers 4.3% 4.5% 2.1% 4.0% 4.3%
Level D 18.6% 19.6% 22.4% 16.8% 12.6%
Other Sales and Services 16.1% 17.0% 21.3% 14.5% 10.7%
Other Manual Workers 2.5% 2.7% 1.1% 2.3% 1.9%

From Figure 13 we see that slight differences can be observed when comparing occupational classifications of women in the various Aboriginal identity groups. The proportions of women at both the highly skilled (Level A) and unskilled (Level D) ends of the skills spectrum are slightly higher for Inuit women, followed by Registered Indian women. Meanwhile, Métis women are slightly more represented in Level C occupations.

Figure 13: Occupation Levels of Women in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Figure  13: Occupation Levels of Women in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada,  2006

A text description of this chart is available on a separate page.

It can be seen in Table 19 that Aboriginal men's occupational distributions are quite different from those of Aboriginal women. Smaller proportions of Aboriginal men are found in Level A and Level C occupations and larger proportions are found in Level B and D occupations. The largest occupational groups among Aboriginal men are semi-skilled manual occupations (20% of the labour force) and skilled crafts and trades (19% of the labour force). Figure 14 compares the occupational classifications of Aboriginal men to non-Aboriginal men and shows that, among the identity groups, fewer Aboriginal men maintain Level A occupations, when compared to non-Aboriginal men, and Aboriginal men are over-represented in Level D occupations.

Figure 14: Occupation Levels of Men in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 14:  Occupation Levels of Men in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

Text description for Figure 14: Occupation Levels of Men in the Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a stacked bar graph illustrating the occupational distribution of the Registered Indian, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal men in the labour force, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is comprised of four identity groups, from left to right, are Registered Indian men, Inuit men, Métis men and non-Aboriginal men.

Each vertical stacked bar represents 100% of the men in the labour force for a specific identity group by occupational levels.

The percentage of Registered Indian men in the labour force, in Level A occupations is 13.1%; in Level B, 33.6%; in Level C, 28.4% and in Level D, 24.9% in 2006.

The percentage of Inuit men in the labour force, in Level A occupations is 14.1%; in Level B, 29.9%; Level C, 29.0%, and in Level D, 27.0% in 2006.

The percentage of Métis men in the labour force, in Level A occupations is 13.9%; in Level B, 38.2%; in Level C, 29.8%, and in Level D, 18.0% in 2006.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal men in the labour force, in Level A occupations is 26.3%; in Level B, 33.4%; in Level C, 27.6%, and in Level D,12.7% in 2006.


Table 19: Occupations of Experienced Male Labour Force, by Identity Group, Canada, 2006
Occupation (NOC) Total Aboriginal Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-Aboriginal
Men in the labour force 253,830 116,595 9,380 94,870 8,630,980
           
Level A 13.4% 13.1% 14.1% 13.9% 26.3%
Senior Managers 1.3% 1.9% 1.8% 0.8% 1.9%
Middle Managers 5.5% 4.6% 5.3% 6.4% 9.9%
Professionals 6.6% 6.6% 7.1% 6.7% 14.6%
Level B 35.4% 33.6% 29.9% 38.2% 33.4%
Semi-professionals and Technicians 6.6% 6.8% 8.9% 6.4% 7.2%
Supervisors - Clerical, Sales and Services 0.9% 0.8% 1.0% 1.0% 1.1%
Supervisors: Trades and Primary Industries 3.3% 2.7% 1.4% 4.1% 4.2%
Administrative and Senior Clerical 1.2% 1.2% 2.2% 1.1% 1.7%
Skilled Sales and Services 4.0% 3.9% 3.1% 4.1% 4.4%
Skilled Crafts and Trades 19.4% 18.2% 13.2% 21.5% 14.8%
Level C 29.4% 28.4% 29.0% 29.8% 27.6%
Clerical 3.9% 3.2% 3.7% 4.3% 5.3%
Intermediate Sales and Services 5.8% 5.4% 5.9% 5.9% 7.2%
Semi-skilled Manual Workers 19.7% 19.7% 19.5% 19.6% 15.1%
Level D 21.8% 24.9% 27.0% 18.0% 12.7%
Other Sales and Services 10.9% 11.9% 17.8% 9.2% 7.4%
Other Manual Workers 10.8% 13.0% 9.3% 8.9% 5.3%

Table 20 compares the occupational distributions of Aboriginal women and men by showing the percentages of women and men within each of the 14 occupations and the differences in the percentages and the ratio of the percentage of women divided by the percentage of men. Table 20 groups the 14 occupations into a set of female dominated occupations and male dominated occupations. It can be seen that Aboriginal women are much more frequently found in clerical, sales, service and professional occupations, while Aboriginal men are much more frequently found in crafts, trades, manual labour and management.

Table 20: Percentage Distribution of the Aboriginal Labour Force, by Sex and Occupation, Showing the Ratio of Women/Men, Canada, 2006
Occupation Aboriginal
Women
Aboriginal
Men
Difference Ratio:
Women/Men
         
Female-Dominated Occupations        
         
Intermediate Sales and Services 18.0% 5.8% 12.2% 3.1
Other Sales and Services 16.1% 10.9% 5.2% 1.5
Clerical 14.1% 3.9% 10.2% 3.6
Professionals 13.2% 6.6% 6.6% 2.0
Semi-professionals and Technicians 10.7% 6.6% 4.1% 1.6
         
Male-Dominated Occupations        
         
Semi-skilled Manual Workers 4.3% 19.7% -15.4% 0.2
Skilled Crafts and Trades 1.1% 19.4% -18.3% 0.1
Other Manual Workers 2.5% 10.8% -8.4% 0.2

5.4 Unpaid Household Activities

In addition to employment or self-employment for wages or other income, we know that people also participate in unpaid work within the home. The census identifies various types of household activities such as housework (including cleaning, cooking, yard work, and home maintenance) and childcare (amount of time caring for children). Table 21 shows the total hours looking after children without pay by identity, sex and age groups. The results show that in general the many women, regardless of identity group spend more than 60 hours per week caring for children, as compared to men.

In Table 21 it can be seen that Inuit women and Registered Indian women reported the largest proportions of "full time" childcare (more than 60 hours per week). While 28% of Inuit women and 29% of Registered Indian women were engaged in more than 60 hours of childcare per week, the proportion of Métis women was 17%. There is no doubt that childcare is the most time-consuming activity. Among Aboriginal women engaged in childcare, the majority of women spending 60 hours or more caring for children per week were between the ages of 25-34 years. In sum, smaller proportions of Aboriginal men were engaged in "full time" childcare compared to Aboriginal women.

Table 21: Hours of Unpaid Childcare, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2006
Registered Indian
Unpaid Childcare 15 to 24 yrs 25 to 34 yrs 35 to 44 yrs 45 to 54 yrs 55 to 64 yrs 65+ years Total Age Groups
  Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
Total hours 55980 55950 39980 46520 41395 48270 32325 38315 17995 21775 12260 16725 199935 227555
No hours 58.8% 41.2% 61.4% 38.6% 55.7% 44.3% 49.6% 50.4% 47.8% 52.2% 43.1% 56.9% 54.0% 46.0%
Less than 5 hours 13.0% 11.4% 11.7% 8.0% 12.0% 9.7% 8.4% 9.8% 6.4% 8.1% 4.3% 6.1% 10.1% 9.4%
5 to 14 hours 10.1% 10.6% 14.9% 10.9% 16.4% 16.7% 10.1% 13.1% 6.6% 9.2% 3.4% 5.2% 10.6% 11.3%
15 to 29 hours 5.8% 7.7% 14.6% 15.2% 14.6% 18.0% 7.6% 9.5% 4.1% 6.2% 2.4% 3.5% 8.1% 10.0%
30 to 59 hours 3.2% 5.9% 12.1% 20.8% 13.6% 20.3% 5.2% 8.6% 3.0% 4.9% 1.6% 2.6% 6.3% 10.2%
60 hours or more 6.5% 20.6% 28.4% 73.2% 25.2% 51.4% 11.5% 18.2% 6.5% 9.7% 3.0% 4.5% 13.0% 29.3%
  Inuit    
Total hours 5215 5055 3285 3600 3040 3360 1925 2215 1175 1145 885 920 15520 16295
No hours 52.9% 37.4% 37.0% 18.9% 33.7% 23.2% 43.9% 36.1% 49.4% 47.6% 67.2% 64.1% 45.2% 32.4%
Less than 5 hours 17.4% 12.2% 9.0% 5.0% 8.9% 6.3% 10.1% 7.2% 9.8% 6.6% 10.2% 9.2% 12.0% 8.1%
5 to 14 hours 12.1% 13.6% 10.4% 6.1% 11.2% 9.2% 11.7% 12.4% 10.2% 10.9% 9.0% 9.8% 11.1% 10.6%
15 to 29 hours 7.1% 9.5% 9.7% 8.8% 11.2% 10.7% 10.9% 9.9% 7.7% 10.0% 5.1% 6.0% 8.9% 9.5%
30 to 59 hours 4.2% 8.1% 11.0% 14.9% 10.5% 14.9% 8.1% 10.8% 8.5% 7.9% 2.8% 4.3% 7.6% 11.2%
60 hours or more 6.4% 19.2% 22.8% 46.4% 24.5% 35.6% 15.3% 23.5% 14.5% 16.6% 6.2% 6.5% 15.1% 28.3%
  Métis    
Total hours 32150 32940 24245 25500 24990 28070 24735 25735 14910 13420 9120 9120 130145 134800
No hours 77.2% 64.4% 56.1% 32.0% 42.7% 30.8% 61.5% 58.1% 76.9% 69.6% 84.5% 83.3% 64.1% 51.8%
Less than 5 hours 11.4% 12.0% 6.5% 4.9% 8.7% 6.6% 11.7% 9.8% 9.7% 10.0% 6.1% 6.1% 9.5% 8.5%
5 to 14 hours 5.5% 6.7% 9.9% 5.6% 14.2% 11.3% 11.1% 11.2% 6.5% 8.9% 4.4% 5.4% 9.1% 8.4%
15 to 29 hours 3.0% 3.0% 9.7% 7.6% 13.3% 12.3% 6.4% 7.5% 3.0% 5.0% 2.5% 2.4% 6.8% 6.8%
30 to 59 hours 1.1% 2.8% 7.0% 12.2% 9.7% 13.3% 4.1% 5.8% 1.7% 2.8% 0.9% 1.4% 4.5% 7.2%
60 hours or more 1.8% 11.1% 10.8% 37.8% 11.3% 25.7% 5.2% 7.5% 2.3% 3.9% 1.6% 1.4% 6.0% 17.1%
  Non-Aboriginal    
Total hours 2039925 1955875 1871250 1954255 2268220 2356410 2357400 2450725 1752250 1816185 1788060 2229780 12077100 12763230
No hours 83.9% 75.6% 62.7% 45.5% 38.2% 28.7% 56.9% 56.4% 77.8% 72.5% 85.9% 84.4% 66.2% 59.8%
Less than 5 hours 9.8% 11.5% 6.9% 5.1% 10.7% 6.8% 15.0% 12.1% 11.2% 10.7% 7.1% 6.6% 10.3% 8.8%
5 to 14 hours 3.6% 5.0% 9.5% 5.5% 18.9% 14.1% 14.2% 13.4% 6.6% 9.2% 4.2% 5.0% 10.0% 9.0%
15 to 29 hours 1.3% 2.1% 9.1% 8.0% 15.2% 15.3% 7.2% 8.0% 2.5% 4.2% 1.5% 2.1% 6.5% 6.9%
30 to 59 hours 0.6% 1.6% 6.6% 11.6% 9.5% 15.0% 3.6% 4.9% 1.0% 2.1% 0.7% 1.1% 3.9% 6.2%
60 hours or more 0.6% 4.2% 5.3% 24.3% 7.5% 20.1% 3.1% 5.1% 0.9% 1.4% 0.5% 0.7% 3.2% 9.4%

 

Table 22: Hours of Unpaid Housework during the Census Reference Week among Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Hours Spent Doing Unpaid Housework** Aboriginal identity Registered Indian Métis Inuit Non-Aboriginal
    On Reserve Off Reserve      
             
Women 15 yrs+ 430,205 98,605 128,955 134,795 16,290 12,763,230
             
No hours 7.1% 8.7% 7.0% 5.9% 8.3% 7.4%
Less than 5 hours 16.4% 11.7% 17.5% 17.7% 15.8% 18.4%
5 to 14 hours 27.9% 22.6% 29.4% 29.7% 27.0% 30.6%
15 to 29 hours 22.8% 22.1% 22.7% 23.8% 22.1% 24.0%
30 to 59 hours 14.4% 15.5% 14.0% 14.4% 15.1% 13.9%
60 hours or more 11.5% 19.5% 9.5% 8.5% 11.6% 5.6%
             
Men 15 yrs+ 393,680 99,705 100,230 130,145 15,525 12,077,100
             
No hours 14.1% 15.5% 14.8% 12.4% 17.4% 12.0%
Less than 5 hours 26.8% 19.2% 30.0% 29.2% 25.6% 30.6%
5 to 14 hours 30.3% 25.6% 31.1% 32.9% 27.9% 34.2%
15 to 29 hours 16.3% 18.8% 14.7% 15.9% 15.8% 15.7%
30 to 59 hours 7.4% 10.2% 6.3% 6.7% 7.7% 5.8%
60 hours or more 5.1% 10.8% 3.3% 2.9% 5.6% 1.7%

** Includes cleaning, cooking, household maintenance, yard work

Table 22 shows the number of hours spent doing unpaid housework by Aboriginal identity group, place of residence and sex in the "reference week" leading up to the 2006 census on May 16. From the Table we see that approximately 93% of both Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal women reported time spent either cleaning, cooking, conducting household maintenance or yard work compared to 86% of Aboriginal men and 88% of non-Aboriginal men. In addition, we see that a higher proportion of Aboriginal women (26%) reported spending more than 30 hours doing housework when compared to non-Aboriginal women (20%), Aboriginal men (13%) and non-Aboriginal men (8%). The Table also shows that while the proportion of housework reported by women in the various identity groups was similar, a significantly higher proportion of Registered Indian women living on reserve (20%) reported spending 60 hours or more doing housework when compared to Registered Indian women living off reserve (10%), Métis women (9%), Inuit women (11%) and non-Aboriginal women (6%).




6.0 Individual and Family Incomes

Income

During the 1990's, Bernier (1997) found that there was greater disparity in the distribution of wages among Aboriginal people than among the non-Aboriginal population, and that this income disparity was much greater for Aboriginal women. Findings in this study support this trend.

This section examines Aboriginal women's incomes in several different ways. First, the average individual incomes and median incomes of women will be compared by age group and to those of men. Second, the distribution of these individual income groups by educational attainment will be described. Third, major sources of women's and men's incomes will be examined in terms of two major income sources – income from employment and income from government transfer payments. Fourth, the distribution of families by income groups will be described. Last, Aboriginal families living below and above the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) before taxes will also be profiled [Note 5].

6.1 Average Individual Income

Table 23 provides the distribution on the average and median individual incomes of the population 15 years and over by identity groups, sex and age groups. In 2005, the average income of Aboriginal women was $21,773, compared to an average income of $28,272 among non-Aboriginal women in Canada. This means that the average incomes of Aboriginal women were about 77% of the average incomes of non-Aboriginal women. When comparing the various Aboriginal identity groups, it can be seen that Inuit women and Métis women have the highest average incomes at about $24,927 and $22,706 respectively, while Registered Indian women have the lowest average income at about $20,743 [Note 6].

Table 23: Income Distribution for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over with Income, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2005
Age
Income Distribution 15 to 24 yrs 25 to 44 yrs 45 to 64 yrs 65+ yrs Total All Age Groups
  Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female Male Female
Aboriginal Identity
Median total income$ 7,099 5,634 28,309 19,216 33,443 24,589 6,428 6,761 22,386 16,079
Average total income $ 11,673 8,814 33,811 23,699 39,718 28,912 17,244 13,146 30,110 21,773
Registered Indian
Median total income$ 5,749 4,684 21,925 17,303 28,350 24,387 7,371 9,087 18,135 15,392
Average total income $ 9,989 7,766 28,260 21,700 34,328 28,247 19,246 15,440 25,785 20,743
Inuit
Median total income$ 6,002 4,973 24,947 21,546 36,919 28,617 6,997 3,005 19,107 15,538
Average total income $ 10,876 9,320 31,656 29,209 42,185 35,031 21,445 12,317 28,150 24,927
Métis
Median total income$ 8,673 6,723 35,974 21,070 38,969 25,059 5,179 4,698 28,106 17,112
Average total income $ 13,506 9,828 40,576 25,502 44,830 29,532 15,818 10,926 34,922 22,706
Non-Aboriginal
Median total income$ 8,720 7,215 39,878 26,454 43,675 28,881 3,480 3,608 33,214 21,765
Average total income $ 12,943 9,944 47,581 31,234 57,299 34,578 23,285 12,758 44,273 28,272

For all identity groups women's average incomes are very low among youth aged 15-24. Average incomes increase with age, reaching their highest levels among those in the 45-64 age groups and then decline for women 65 years and over. The differences between the incomes of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women are smallest, in both absolute and percentage terms, among those in the youngest and oldest age groups when income levels are generally lower. In the middle age groups the differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women are larger, especially among those 45-64 years old.

Figure 15 shows that the average incomes of women in all identity groups are smaller than those of men. The difference between women's and men's incomes is smallest among the Inuit population with a difference of $3,000. This is followed by the Registered Indian population, where women's incomes are about 80% of men's incomes. The greatest difference among average income is observed for the Métis population with a difference of roughly $12,000.

Figure 15: Average Individual Income for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 15: Average Individual Income for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005
Description of figure 15: Average Individual Income for the Population Aged 15 Years and Over, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a clustered bar graph showing the average individual income, in constant 2005 dollars, of the population aged 15 years and over, by sex and identity group, in 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population.

The "average individual income" is defined as the weighted mean income of individuals 15 years of age and over who reported income for 2005. Average income is calculated from unrounded data by dividing the aggregate income of a specified group of individuals (e.g., males 45 to 54 years of age) by the number of individuals with income in that group.

The Y axis is measured by the level of income in constant 2005 dollars and increases by increments of $10,000 from $10,000 up to $100,000.

The X axis is comprised of four identity groups, from left to right are Registered Indian, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

Each identity group has two vertical bars, one for the female population and one for the male population, depicting the average individual income in constant 2005 dollars for each respective gender.

The average individual income in constant 2005 dollars is $20,743 for Registered Indian women and $25,785 for Registered Indian men in 2005.

The average individual income in constant 2005 dollars is $24,927 for Inuit women and $28,150 for Inuit men in 2005.

The average individual income in constant 2005 dollars is $22,706 for Métis women and $34,922 for Métis men in 2005.

The average individual income in constant 2005 dollars is $28,272 for non-Aboriginal women and $44,273 for non-Aboriginal men in 2005.

Table 24 shows the impact of educational levels on income for the Aboriginal population by gender and identity group. It is clear to see that increases in the average incomes of Aboriginal women are a function of higher levels of education. For example, those Aboriginal women with a high school diploma or equivalent have an average income of $19,215 compared to $31,000 for those with a university degree below a bachelor level and $39,830 with a university degree. This pattern is similar among each of the Aboriginal women's identity groups. However, it should be noted that the average income of Aboriginal women is lower for university degree holders when compared to the non-Aboriginal population for each identity group, with a difference of roughly $3,000. The exception to this can be seen in the female Inuit population, where university degree holders have the highest reported average income of $48,597. Again this is mostly likely related to a northern living allowance and does not necessarily suggest that this group has a higher level of "purchasing power".

Table 24: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, Highest Level of Schooling and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Gender and Highest Level of Schooling
Total
 Aboriginal
Registered
 Indian
Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
           
Women - All Levels $21,773 $20,743 $24,927 $22,706 $28,272
           
No degree, certificate or diploma $12,969 $12,473 $17,039 $12,987 $14,455
High school diploma or equivalent only $19,215 $18,173 $26,735 $19,587 $21,986
Postsecondary education $28,464 $27,716 $35,993 $28,967 $34,177
Trades/apprenticeship or other non university $24,556 $23,743 $32,888 $24,973 $27,624
University certificate below bachelor level $31,000 $28,726 $43,826 $33,650 $33,367
University degree $39,830 $39,377 $48,597 $39,949 $43,201
           
Men - All Levels $30,110 $25,785 $28,150 $34,922 $44,273
           
No degree, certificate or diploma $20,735 $18,319 $19,821 $24,333 $25,583
High school diploma or equivalent only $28,426 $25,150 $29,768 $31,027 $34,205
Postsecondary education $39,761 $34,448 $41,280 $44,762 $54,525
Trades/apprenticeship or other non university $37,306 $32,197 $39,724 $42,284 $43,766
University certificate below bachelor level $38,810 $33,248 $50,849 $42,902 $48,338
University degree $53,996 $49,320 $56,845 $57,215 $72,341

Figure 16 shows the average incomes for university degree holders between Aboriginal men and women for each of the respective identity groups. From the figure we see that Aboriginal men have higher average incomes, when compared to women regardless of identity group. These differences seem to be related to the gender polarization of various regional labour markets (northern communities and on-reserves), in combination with the types of skills obtained by Aboriginal women and men. For example, labour markets on reserves tend to be dominated by public sector occupations, such as clerical, administrative, health and education-related jobs of which a majority of women tend to occupy. Women, therefore, are more likely than men to obtain related qualifications and earn less income, compared to male-dominated occupations such as the trades and skilled crafts.

Figure 16: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, University Degree and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure  16: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, University  Degree and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Text description for Figure 16: Average Individual Income of the Population with Income, by Sex, University Degree and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a clustered bar graph showing the average individual income, in constant 2005 dollars, of the population aged 15 years and over with income, by sex, university degree and identity group, in 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population.

The "average individual income" is defined as the weighted mean income of individuals 15 years of age and over who reported income for 2005. Average income is calculated from unrounded data by dividing the aggregate income of a specified group of individuals (e.g., males 45 to 54 years of age) by the number of individuals with income in that group.

The Y axis is measured by the level of income in constant 2005 dollars and increases by increments of $10,000 from $10,000 up to $100,000.

The X axis is comprised of four identity groups, from left to right are Registered Indian, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

Each identity group has two vertical bars, one representing the women with a university degree and one representing the men with a university degree, depicting the average individual income in constant 2005 dollars for each respective gender.

  • For Registered Indian women with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $39,377 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For Registered Indian men with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $49,320 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For Inuit women with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $48,597 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For Inuit men with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $56,845 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For Métis women with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $39,949 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For Métis men with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $57,215 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For non-Aboriginal women with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $43,201 (constant dollars in 2005)
  • For non-Aboriginal men with income and a university degree, the average individual income is $72,341 (constant dollars in 2005)

6.2 Major Source of Income

Figure 17 and Figure 18 show the amount of individual income from employment and income from government transfer payments for both men and women by identity group.  As seen in Figure 17 the largest portion of income in 2005 among women in all identity groups was derived from employment. This proportion ranged from 83% of the income of Registered Indian women to 86% of Métis women.

Figure 17: Percentage of Income from Employment, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure  17: Percentage of Income from Employment, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Text description for Figure 17: Percentage of Income from Employment, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a clustered bar graph showing the percentage share of income from employment, based on constant 2005 dollars, by sex and identity group, Canada, 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0% to 100%.

The X axis is comprised of four identity groups, from left to right are Registered Indian, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

Each identity group has two vertical bars, one representing the female population and one representing the male population, depicting the percentage share of income from employment by gender.

The percentage of income from employment is 83% for Registered Indian women and 91% for Registered Indian men in 2005.

The percentage of income from employment is 83% for Inuit women and 91% for Inuit men in 2005.

The percentage of income from employment is 86% for Métis women and 91% for Métis men in 2005.

The percentage of income from employment is 86% for non-Aboriginal women and 88% for non-Aboriginal men in 2005.


From Figure 18 we see that the proportion of income from government transfers was higher among Registered Indian and Inuit women when compared to Métis and non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men. In particular, 15% of the income of Registered Indian women was derived from government transfer payments, compared to 7% of the income of Registered Indian men. A similar pattern occurs among men and women for each of the identity groups. In general, women rely more on income from government transfer payments than men.

Figure 18: Percentage of Income from Government Transfer Payments, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Figure 18: Percentage of Income from Government Transfer Payments, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

Text description for Figure 18: Percentage of Income from Government Transfer Payments, by Sex and Identity Group, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a clustered bar graph showing the percentage share of income from Government transfer payments, based on constant 2005 dollars, by sex and identity group, Canada, 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and AANDC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of five from 0% to 50%.

The X axis is comprised of four identity groups, from left to right are Registered Indian, Inuit, Métis and Non-Aboriginal.

Each identity group has two vertical bars, one representing the female population and one representing the male population, depicting the percentage share of income from Government transfer payment by gender.

The percentage of income from Government transfer payments is 14.8% for Registered Indian women and 7.2% for Registered Indian men in 2005.

The percentage of income from Government transfer payments is 14.6% for Inuit women and 7.5% for Inuit men in 2005.

The percentage of income from Government transfer payments is 10.2% for Métis women and 5.3% for Métis men in 2005.

The percentage of income from Government transfer payments is 7.2% for non-Aboriginal women and 3.6% for non-Aboriginal men in 2005.


Table 25 examines the percentage of income from both employment and government transfer payments by identity group, gender and age groups. Table 25 demonstrates that income from government transfer payments is highest for Aboriginal women in the 65 and greater age groups, when compared to Aboriginal men of the same age categories. However, the reliance on transfer payments is highest for those Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men who were 65+ years of age. For example, we see that, while a major source of income is transfer payments (36%) for female Aboriginal population 65+ years, transfer payments as a major source of income was lower for Aboriginal men, at 30%. Similarly, among the various identity groups we see that as people increase in age, the reliance on transfer payments also tends to increase but is, again, higher among women when compared to men. More Registered Indian women 65+ years (34%) reported income from transfer payments compared to their male counterparts (28%). The same is true among Inuit women (47%) and Métis women (38%) aged 65+ years when compared to their male counterparts at (33%) and (31%) respectively.

Table 25: Percentage of Income from Employment and Government Transfer Payments, by Sex, Age Group and Identity, Canada, 2005
Age
Income Distribution 15 to 24 yrs 25 to 44 yrs 45 to 64 yrs 65+ yrs Total All
Age Groups
    Male   Female   Male   Female   Male   Female   Male   Female   Male   Female
Aboriginal Identity
Employment Income 90.9 83.3 93.5 82.8 90.1 89.1 43.2 43.1 90.6 84.4
Government Transfer Payments 7.3 14.0 5.5 15.5 5.1 7.0 30.0 35.7 6.2 12.6
Registered Indian
Employment Income 89.6 79.1 92.4 80.1 91.1 89.3 47.5 49.5 90.5 82.8
Government Transfer Payments 9.1 19.0 6.8 18.4 5.7 7.6 27.9 33.7 7.2 14.8
Inuit
Employment Income 88.4 80.3 92.0 82.2 92.1 88.6 60.7 47.3 91.0 83.3
Government Transfer Payments 10.2 16.9 7.3 16.2 5.2 8.5 32.8 46.8 7.5 14.6
Métis
Employment Income 92.3 86.8 94.6 85.5 89.6 89.2 39.4 37.8 90.8 86.2
Government Transfer Payments 5.7 9.8 4.3 12.4 4.5 6.1 31.2 38.4 5.3 10.2
Non-Aboriginal
Employment Income 92.0 88.8 95.6 89.0 88.7 87.8 39.6 31.8 88.3 86.0
Government Transfer Payments 4.5 6.2 2.3 8.5 2.3 4.1 19.8 26.3 3.6 7.2

 

6.3 Distribution by Family Income Groups

Family income is important since families often act as an economic unit for the purposes of paying for basic necessities as food, clothing, and shelter. In this section the concept of "Census Family" is defined as parents and their children, and/or spouses, living together. Figure 19 shows the proportions of Census Families with income in given income ranges for families with various identities. In the figure, five income ranges have been used: incomes of less than $20,000; $20,000 to $39,999; $40,000 to $59,999; $60,000 to $79,999; and, $80,000 or more. Families without any income in the year 2000 are not included in the percentages.

Figure 19: Census Family Distribution, by Income Level, Identity Group and Area of Residence, Canada, 2005

Figure  19: Census Family Distribution, by Income Level, Identity Group and Area of  Residence, Canada, 2005

Description of figure 19: Census Family Distribution, by Income Level, Identity Group and Area of Residence, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a stacked bar graph illustrating the percentage distribution of Census families with various identities, by income level and area of residence, in Canada, as of 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The term "Census family" refers to a married couple (with or without children of either or both spouses), a couple living common-law (with or without children of either or both partners), or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one child living in the same dwelling. A couple living common-law may be of opposite or same sex.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into five identity groups, from left to right, are: Registered Indian (on reserve); Registered Indian (off reserve); Inuit; Métis, and Non-Aboriginal.

Each vertical bar is represented by an identity group, totaling 100% and depicts the percentage distribution of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal families by family income level.

The percentage of Registered Indian families living on reserves is 37.9% for (Income of $19,999 and under); 30.2% (income of $20,000-$39,999); 16.5% (income of $40,000-$59,999); 8.1% (income of $60,000-$79,999), and 7.4% (income of $80,000 and over) in 2005.

The percentage of Registered Indian families living off reserve is 19.4% for (Income of $19,999 and under); 25.2% (income of $20,000-$39,999); 18.5% (income of $40,000-$59,999); 13.9% (income of $60,000-$79,999), and 23.0% (income of $80,000 and over) in 2005.

The percentage of Inuit families is 18.6% for (Income of $19,999 and under); 24.5% (income of $20,000-$39,999); 18.4% (income of $40,000-$59,999); 12.3% (income of $60,000-$79,999), and 26.0% (income of $80,000 and over) in 2005.

The percentage of Métis families is 10.5% for (Income of $19,999 and under); 20.7% (income of $20,000-$39,999); 19.5% (income of $40,000-$59,999); 17.1% (income of $60,000-$79,999), and 32.1% (income of $80,000 and over) in 2005.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal families is 7.3% for (Income of $19,999 and under); 18.8% (income of $20,000-$39,999); 19.6% (income of $40,000-$59,999); 17.0% (income of $60,000-$79,999), and 37.3% (income of $80,000 and over) in 2005.

As one might suspect, Census Family incomes are generally higher than individual incomes. The Figure shows that despite this, a substantial proportion of Aboriginal families had incomes lower than $20,000 in the year 2005. This proportion was highest among Registered Indian families living on reserves (38%), lower among Registered Indian families living off reserve (19%) and Inuit families (19%) and lowest among Métis families (11%). In comparison only 7% of non-Aboriginal families had incomes below $20,000. The second lowest income range, $20,000 - $39,999, followed a similar pattern, with a higher proportion of Registered Indian families on reserves (30%) in this income range compared to other identity groups (21% to 26%). When these two levels are combined, the differences between identity groups become larger. While the majority (about 67%) of Registered Indian families on reserves have incomes below $40,000, the proportion is about 44% among Registered Indian families off reserves and among Inuit families, while among Métis the proportion was still lower at 32%. Only 22% of non-Aboriginal families had incomes below $40,000.

When examining income levels of $80,000 or more, the differences are equally noticeable. Again, the distinction between Registered Indian families living on and off reserve is important. The proportion of Registered Indian families living on reserve with incomes of $80,000 or more was 7% in 2005, compared to 23% of Registered Indian families living off reserve, and 26% Inuit families. Among Métis and non-Aboriginal families the proportions were 32% and 37%.

6.4 Low Income

Low Income

The percentage of Aboriginal women living in poverty is more than double the percentage of non-Aboriginal women. At the time of the 2006 census, based on before-tax incomes, more than 36% of Aboriginal women, compared with 17% of non-Aboriginal women were living in poverty. Like many other women living in poverty, Aboriginal women are particularly affected by the social assistance policies of provincial and territorial governments. Furthermore, Aboriginal women employed on reserves may not be covered by the Canada Pension Plan. High rates of poverty among Aboriginal people are having disastrous consequences. Their life expectancy is seven years less than that of the overall Canadian population. As well, there are almost twice as many infant deaths among Aboriginal peoples - a higher rate than the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.

While the child poverty rate of Aboriginal children has gone down since 1995, Aboriginal Peoples are still at a higher risk of poverty. In fact, more Aboriginal children live in low-income families. According to Statistics Canada, "the incidence of low income among children from lone-parent families in 2007 (17%) was almost half of what it was in 1990 (32%), the end of a period of growth and the start of an economic slowdown. In contrast, the percentage of children from two-parent families living in low income has remained fairly stable since 2003" (Statistics Canada, 2009).

Statistics Canada's "low income-rate" measures the percentage of persons who live in a family with an income below the low income cut-off (LICO). The LICO is a statistical measure of the income threshold by which Canadian likely devote a larger share of income than average to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. It should be noted that for reserves the low income definition is not considered appropriate and, thus, there are no low income cut off lines defined for reserves.[Note 7] Figure 20 displays the proportion of Census Families living in low income before taxes for Aboriginal Census Families and non-Aboriginal Census Families by gender in 2005. From the Figure, we see that in 2005 a significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (23%) were living below the low income cut-off, when compared to Aboriginal families headed by men (9%) and non-Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (17%) and men (9%).

Figure 20: Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Census Families with Low Income Before Taxes, by Sex, Canada, 2005

Figure 20:  Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Census Families with Low Income Before Taxes, by Sex, Canada, 2005
Description of figure 20: Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Census Families with Low Income Before Taxes, by Sex, Canada, 2005

This is an image of a clustered bar graph that illustrates (in percentage) the share of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Census Families headed by men or women living with low income before taxes, whose income is above or below the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) as of 2005. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Low Income Cut Off is set at a level where families are estimated to spend 20% more than the Canadian average of their income on food, shelter and clothing.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is comprised of two bars; where one bar reflects living above the LICO and one bar reflects living below the LICO. LICO information is disseminated as a comparison from left to right for the following groups: Aboriginal males; Aboriginal females; non-Aboriginal males, and non-Aboriginal females.

The percentage of Aboriginal Census families headed by Aboriginal males living above the LICO is 71.5% and below the LICOis 9.2%.

The percentage of Aboriginal Census families headed by Aboriginal females living above the LICO is 49.1% and below the LICO is 22.6%.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal Census families headed by non-Aboriginal males living above the LICO is 91.3% and below the LICO is 8.5%.

The percentage of non-Aboriginal Census families headed by non-Aboriginal females living above the LICO is 82.8% and below the LICO is 16.9%.




7.0 Migration and Mobility

7.1 Mobility Status

Migration and Mobility Patterns

There are a variety of factors that affect the migration patterns of Aboriginal women in Canada. For example, "formal membership and residency requirements create various conditions that directly influence migration and mobility" (Norris et al, 2003). In addition, mobility and migration patterns of Aboriginal women are also affected by age, income levels, employment and identity group. The findings of a study by Norris and Clatworthy (2007) found that young adult females aged 20-24 years had higher rates of mobility from reserves, compared to men in the same age group. Moreover higher overall migration rates from urban centers to reserves were observed among young adult females with children and slightly more so for females who were Registered Indians, as compared to non-Status females (Norris, et al. 2003; Norris and Clatworthy, 2007).

The unique mobility pattern among young Aboriginal women is not a new phenomenon; it has been cited for several decades in previous studies looking at migration and mobility patterns among Aboriginal peoples. Many studies identified that many Aboriginal women in large urban centers, who moved there from reserve, are lone parents. Aboriginal women tend to move in a family context, reflecting a search for the possibility of better social services, improved health care, and educational opportunities that will help them and their children; whereas Aboriginal men tend to report economic factors as primary to decisions for migrating (Maxim, P.S., Keane, C. & White, J. 2003; Newhouse & E. Peters 2003).

According to O'Donnell (2005), Aboriginal women are more likely to change their place of residence more often than non-Aboriginal women. For example, between 1996 and 2001, 52% of Aboriginal women changed residences at least once, compared with 42% of non-Aboriginal women. In addition, Aboriginal women living in urban areas and who are younger (between 15-24 years) were even more likely to change residences compared to Aboriginal women living in rural areas. The findings in this study revealed that between 1996 and 2001, "66% of Aboriginal women living in a Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) made at least one residential move, compared to 41% of those living in a rural non-reserve area and only 36% of their counterparts living on a reserve" and "roughly 60% of Aboriginal women aged either 15 to 24 or 25 to 44 changed residence at least once. This compared with 36% of Aboriginal women aged 45 to 64 and 24% of those aged 65 and over" (O'Donnell, 2005).

The census identifies the mobility status of those over the age of 5 years by identifying where they lived five years earlier. Those who lived in a different location are referred to as movers. This group is further sub-divided into those who lived in the same Census Division (CD) and those who lived in a different Census Division five years earlier. Those who moved but lived in the same Census Division are referred to as non-migrants or as local movers and those who lived in a different Census Division are referred to as migrants. The migrants are further sub-divided according to whether they used to live in the same Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), a different location within the same province, a different province within Canada, or a different country. It should be kept in mind that the census does not capture such things as multiple moves or situations where someone may have moved away and then returned to the same Census Division or address. This study attempts to simplify these terms by using the categories of "Did not Move" and "Moved". For ease of illustration, those individuals who did move, the categories are further divided into: 1. moved within the same area; 2. moved within the same province; and, 3. moved from a different province/territory.

Table 26 describes the mobility status of women and men by identity group and place of residence. As the table shows, close to 50% of the Aboriginal female population (46%) moved between 2001 and 2006. This was slightly higher than the mobility rate among the non-Aboriginal female population (41%). Looking at the two components of movers, the proportion of local movers (non-migrants) among the Aboriginal female population (27%) somewhat exceeded the proportion among the non-Aboriginal female population (22%). There was even more of a difference when we compare the percentage of the Registered Indian females off reserve who reported moving in within the five year period (58%) to those women living on reserve (24%).

Table 26: Five-year Mobility Rates of the Population Aged 5 Year and Over, by Sex, Identity Group and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
Sex and Mobility Status Total
Aboriginal
Registered Indian Inuit Métis Non-
Aboriginal
    On Reserve Off Reserve      
             
Female Population
Mobility Status 5 Years Ago
547,120 131,955 161,075 21,925 165,740 14,538,740
Did not Move 53.8% 75.7% 41.9% 61.2% 49.4% 59.2%
Moved 46.2% 24.3% 58.1% 38.7% 50.6% 40.8%
Non-migrants (locally) 26.5% 14.5% 32.1% 25.3% 29.3% 21.9%
Migrants 19.7% 9.9% 26.0% 13.4% 21.3% 18.9%
Moved within the same area 1.9% 0.3% 2.1% 0.6% 2.2% 4.4%
Moved within the same province 13.1% 4.3% 13.2% 8.1% 13.3% 7.7%
Moved from a different province/territory 4.4% 1.3% 5.8% 4.6% 5.5% 2.7%
Male Population
Mobility Status 5 Years Ago
516,655 134,940 134,385 21,395 162,930 13,941,965
Did not Move 56.4% 76.8% 42.9% 63.4% 52.4% 59.2%
Moved 43.6% 23.2% 57.1% 36.7% 47.6% 40.8%
Non-migrants (locally) 25.1% 14.2% 32.0% 25.0% 27.1% 21.9%
Migrants 18.5% 9.0% 25.1% 11.6% 20.5% 18.9%
Moved within the same area 1.8% 0.2% 2.0% 0.4% 2.2% 4.4%
Moved within the same province 12.1% 3.8% 12.8% 7.2% 12.5% 7.6%
Moved from a different province/territory 4.2% 1.2% 5.6% 3.9% 5.4% 2.8%

7.2 Mobility Status and Age Groups

Table 27 shows mobility rates by age groups and identity for the female population. Among all Aboriginal females 5-19 years old, approximately 43% were movers but about 56% of them were local movers and almost 44% had moved from a different area. In the  20-34 year age range the proportion of movers increases to about 63% among Aboriginal women, with about 55% of them being local movers and 45% migrating from a different area. After the age of 45 the proportions of movers decline, reaching their lowest rates among women over the age of 65+ years. Meanwhile, the rates are lowest among the Registered Indian population living on reserve and highest among the Registered Indian population living off reserve. Among Registered Indian women from 20 to 24 years old and living off reserve, about 78% moved between 2001 and 2006 and more than 53% were local movers (see Table 27).

Table 27: Five-year Mobility Rates of Women Aged 5 Years and Over, by Age Group, Identity and Place of Residence, Canada, 2006
  Age Group
Aboriginal Identity and 5-Year Mobility Status 5-14 yrs 15-19 yrs 20-24 yrs 25-34 yrs 35-44 yrs 45-64 yrs 65+ yrs
               
Total Aboriginal 116,955 57,855 48,510 85,345 90,250 117,400 30,810
Movers 46.5% 43.1% 62.6% 65.5% 46.2% 33.0% 21.8%
Moved locally within the same area 59.5% 56.2% 54.9% 57.0% 58.0% 56.1% 58.2%
Moved from a different area 40.5% 43.7% 45.1% 43.0% 42.0% 43.9% 41.8%
               
Registered Indian - On Reserve 33,350 15,400 11,760 19,675 20,030 23,955 7,780
Movers 24.9% 24.2% 34.9% 36.2% 22.2% 15.1% 10.2%
Moved locally within the same area 61.2% 59.0% 63.7% 61.4% 55.5% 52.4% 56.6%
Moved from a different area 38.8% 41.2% 36.3% 38.5% 44.4% 47.6% 42.8%
               
Registered Indian - Off Reserve 32,130 15,040 13,745 26,845 28,235 36,130 8,950
Movers 61.3% 58.1% 78.2% 77.9% 57.9% 40.7% 26.3%
Moved locally within the same area 57.0% 51.1% 53.6% 53.9% 56.3% 56.8% 58.1%
Moved from a different area 43.0% 48.9% 46.4% 46.1% 43.7% 43.2% 41.9%
               
Inuit 5,630 2,850 2,205 3,600 3,355 3,360 915
Movers 37.6% 33.2% 50.8% 53.8% 36.5% 28.1% 23.5%
Moved locally within the same area 68.1% 64.6% 66.5% 63.6% 62.9% 63.0% 76.7%
Moved from a different area 32.2% 34.4% 33.5% 36.4% 37.1% 36.5% 23.3%
               
Métis 30,950 17,505 15,430 25,500 28,070 39,155 9,120
Movers 52.1% 46.0% 69.3% 72.9% 50.0% 36.0% 25.3%
Moved locally within the same area 60.6% 58.2% 53.7% 57.5% 60.2% 56.1% 57.1%
Moved from a different area 39.4% 41.7% 46.4% 42.4% 39.8% 44.0% 42.9%
               
Non-Aboriginal 1,777,825 975,355 980,235 1,953,850 2,355,620 4,266,090 2,229,755
Movers 45.0% 37.0% 57.0% 72.9% 47.1% 28.4% 20.7%
Moved locally within the same area 56.3% 55.1% 47.0% 50.4% 55.1% 55.6% 58.1%
Moved from a different area 43.7% 44.9% 53.0% 49.6% 44.9% 44.4% 41.9%

Figure 21 and Figure 22 illustrates mobility rates of the female Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population by age groups. As the figures show, the mobility rates close to 50% for all age groups of the total Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal female populations were similar within the same area. The rates, close to 40% for all age groups, for those migrating from a different area between 2001 and 2006 also followed a similar pattern between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women.

Figure 21: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved within the Same Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Description of figure 21: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved within the Same Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a vertical bar graph showing the five-year mobility rates (in percentage) of female Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations who moved within the same area, by age group, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into seven age groups. On the X axis, from left to right the age groups are:  5-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-64 and 65 years and over.

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for Aboriginal women who moved within the same area are: 59.5% (ages 5-14); 56.2% (ages 15-19); 54.9% (ages 20-24); 57.0% (ages 25-34); 58.0% (ages 35-44); 56.1% (ages 45-64); 58.2% (age 65 and over).

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for non-Aboriginal women who moved within the same area are: 56.3% (ages 5-14); 55.1% (ages 15-19); 47.0% (ages 20-24); 50.4% (ages 25-34); 55.1% (ages 35-44); 55.6% (ages 45-64); 58.1% (age 65 and over).

Figure 22: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved from a Different Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

Figure 22:  Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved from a  Different Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006
Description of figure 22: Five-year Mobility Rates for Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Women Who Moved from a Different Area, by Age Group, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a vertical bar graph showing the five-year mobility rates (in percentage) of female Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations who moved from a different area, by age group, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into seven age groups. On the X axis, from left to right the age groups are:5-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-64 and 65 years and over.

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for the female Aboriginal population who moved from a different area are: 40.5% (ages 5-14); 43.7% (ages 15-19); 45.1% (ages 20-24); 43.0% (ages 25-34); 42.0% (ages 35-44); 43.9% (ages 45-64); 41.8% (age 65 and over).

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for the female non-Aboriginal population who moved from a different area are: 43.7% (ages 5-14); 44.9% (ages 15-19); 53.0% (ages 20-24); 49.6% (ages 25-34); 44.9% (ages 35-44); 44.4% (ages 45-64); 41.9% (age 65 and over).

Figure 23 shows a somewhat different pattern in mobility between those of the on- and off-reserve Registered Indian populations. Significantly more off-reserve Registered Indian women moved, across all age groups, when compared to those women living on reserve. Although, mobility rates have increased since 1996, this pattern of mobility is very similar to the findings of the 1996 and 2001 for off-reserve Registered Indian women. The reasons for such high mobility rates for the off-reserve Registered Indian population are complex and most likely attributed to a host of interrelated factors, such as low income, employment opportunities, inadequate housing and housing affordability, childcare, as well as access to various social services and networks of care.

Figure 23: Five-year Mobility Rates for Female Registered Indian Movers, by Age Group and On/Off Reserve, Canada, 2006

Figure 23:  Five-year Mobility Rates for Female Registered Indian Movers, by Age Group and On/Off  Reserve, Canada, 2006

Text description for Figure 23: Five-year Mobility Rates for Female Registered Indian Movers, by Age Group and On/Off Reserve, Canada, 2006

This is an image of a vertical bar graph showing the five-year mobility rates (in percentage) for female Registered Indians movers, by age group and on/off reserve, in Canada, as of 2006. The source for the data used in the chart is: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census of Population and INAC tabulations.

The Y axis is measured in percentages and increases by increments of ten from 0 up to 100.

The X axis is divided into seven age groups. On the X axis, from left to right the age groups are:5-14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-64 and 65 years and over.

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for on-reserve female Registered Indian movers are: 24.9% (ages 5-14); 24.2% (ages 15-19); 34.9% (ages 20-24); 36.2% (ages 25-34); 22.2% (ages 35-44); 15.1% (ages 45-64); 10.2% (age 65 and over).

The five-year mobility rates (in percent) for off-reserve female Registered Indian movers are: 61.3% (ages 5-14); 58.1% (ages 15-19); 78.2% (ages 20-24); 77.9% (ages 25-34); 57.9% (ages 35-44); 40.7% (ages 45-64); 26.3% (age 65 and over).





8.0 Conclusion

The purpose of this study is to provide a statistical context for understanding the current social and economic conditions of the cultural make-up of the female Aboriginal population by examining both the similarities and differences among Registered Indian (on and off reserve), Métis and Inuit women, and comparing these findings to Aboriginal men as well as non-Aboriginal men and women using data from the 2006 Census of Population. These findings are intended to delineate a statistical portrait of their unique lives and social realities. It is anticipated that the information from this study be used as a supporting document to assist researchers and policy makers in their attempts to further their understanding of the issues facing Aboriginal women in Canada, as well as their achievements.

Several significant changes have occurred between 2001 and 2006 in the Canadian economy that have influenced the lives of Canadians. First, research indicates that the economic growth of this period elevated the economic circumstances of the Canadian population as a whole (Transport Canada, Canadian Economic Performance 2009; US Joint Economic Committee December 2005). Second, the size of the Aboriginal population has increased significantly since 2001 and now comprises a larger share of the total Canadian population.  The number of people who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person surpassed the one-million mark in 2006 (1,172,790), accounting for 3.8% of the total population, up from 3.3% in 2001.

Population Structure and Place of Residence

Within the Aboriginal female population the largest share of females (28.4%) reported being less than 15 years of age, slightly less than their male counterparts at 31.2%. In 2006, the median age of the Aboriginal population was 27 years, compared with 40 years for non-Aboriginal people, a difference of 13 years. The trend in a ‘youthful' age profile can be attributed to higher birth rates and lower life expectancy.

The Aboriginal female population is aging, albeit at a slower rate when compared to the non-Aboriginal female population. Of the total Aboriginal identity population in 2006, females 60 years of age and over accounted for 7% of the total. As previously mentioned, fertility rates for the Aboriginal population are higher than for the larger Canadian population, but they are continuing to decline. Moreover, there has been a gradual improvement in life expectancy. These two influences result in a slight shift towards an older age demographic among Aboriginal peoples, and Aboriginal women in particular.

In 2006, Aboriginal females made up approximately 11% of the total Aboriginal population in Ontario, and 31% of the total Aboriginal population living in the Western Provinces which includes Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC . However, some differences exist when we examine the proportions of women and men living on and off reserves and by age groupings. Among the Registered Indian population this finding showed that there were more females aged 19 years and less old living on reserves (44%), compared to males (35%). However, the off-reserve population of Registered Indians aged 19 years and less is slightly higher for both females (45%) and males (43%), when compared to those living on reserve. Furthermore, Inuit females (49%) and Inuit males (46%) have the largest proportion of their population that are 19 years and less, when compared to the other identity groups.

Language Use and Knowledge

This study also reveals that the majority of Aboriginal women (73%) learned English as their first language, while only 16% learned either an Amerindian language or 8% learned French as their first language. The proportion of Aboriginal girls or women with an Aboriginal (Amerindian or Inuktitut) mother tongue is relatively low among the younger age groups, and higher among the older age groups. This observation points to a shift from either Aboriginal languages or French to English over time. The proportion of the population with an Aboriginal mother tongue is highest among Inuit. More Inuit women 65% (all age groups) reported Inuktitut as their mother tongue compared to English (32%). Among the Registered Indian population the proportion with an Aboriginal mother tongue is 28% and much lower for Métis women at 3%.

The findings also reveal that the vast majority (75%) of the Aboriginal population spoke English as their primary home-based language, while 16% an Aboriginal language and 5% spoke French. The proportion of Aboriginal people primarily speaking an Aboriginal language at home is slightly lower than the proportion with an Aboriginal mother tongue (the first language learned and still understood). In addition, 29% of First Nations people said that they could speak an Aboriginal language well enough to carry on a conversation. This figure, however, was much higher for First Nations people living on reserve. In 2006, half of the First Nations people living on reserve (51%) could speak in an Aboriginal language, compared to 12% of those living off reserve. The First Nations languages with the largest number of speakers in 2006 were Cree (87,285), Ojibway (30,255), Oji-Cree (12,435) and Montagnais-Naskapi (11,080) (Statistics Canada, 2009: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, Census 2006).

Family and Relationships

Research has shown that Aboriginal families are different from the non-Aboriginal population in terms of marriage patterns, living arrangements and family structure. In 2006, more Aboriginal women were less likely to be legally married and more likely to live in common-law relationships, have more children, were more likely to be a lone parent and to be living with either immediate or extended family members, when compared to  non-Aboriginal women. For example, in 2006 fewer Aboriginal women reported being legally married (48%) compared to non-Aboriginal women (58%). This proportion was lowest for Registered Indian women both on reserve (47%) and off reserve (48%), when compared to the other Aboriginal identity groups. Divorce rates were highest for Métis women (7%) followed by non-Aboriginal women (6%), Registered Indian women on reserve (5.3%), Registered Indian women off reserve (3%) and Inuit women (2%).

Educational Attainment

In 2006, close to 23% of Aboriginal women reported secondary school attainment and 36% some level of postsecondary school attainment. A larger proportion of Aboriginal women (41%) have no degree of certificate. Slightly more Aboriginal females had postsecondary education, as compared to Aboriginal males (33%). However, these percentages are still lower when compared to non-Aboriginal females (50%) and males (52%).  A relatively equal proportion of Aboriginal females had trades training or other non-university (25%), when compared to non-Aboriginal females (27%). The findings also showed that there are considerably lower percentages of Aboriginal females (7%) who had obtained a university degree when compared to non-Aboriginal females (19%) and males (19%). However, in 2006 the proportion of Aboriginal females with a university degree was slightly higher when compared to Aboriginal males (5%).

The findings in this study reveal that levels of educational attainment tend to vary among the Aboriginal identity population. For example, Inuit women and Registered Indian women on reserves reported lower levels of educational attainment compared to non-Aboriginal women, or Registered Indian women living off reserve. In fact, one of the most striking differences among the Registered Indian female population with respect to educational attainment appears to be related to place of residence. While 57% of Registered Indian females living on reserve had no degree or diploma, this percentage dropped to 39% for those living off reserve. In addition, for those Registered Indian women living on reserve only 4% had obtained a university degree compared to 8% who were living off reserve. Métis women have been especially successful, with 41% having some level of postsecondary education, 8% of which are university degree holders compared to 32% who reported having no degree or diploma. Among Inuit women, in contrast, the corresponding proportions are 25% with postsecondary attainment, of which 3% are university obtainers, and 61% have no degree or diploma. It can also be seen that the Non- Aboriginal population has a higher level of educational attainment than any of the Aboriginal identity groups, especially when comparing the percentages with university attainment. While the proportion of Aboriginal women with a university degree ranges from 3% (among Inuit women) to 8% (among off-reserve Registered Indian women), the proportion among the non-Aboriginal population is 19%.
 
The highest proportion of Aboriginal women was found in the field of business, management and public administration (30%) as well as health, parks, recreation and fitness (22%). Meanwhile, very few Aboriginal women have qualifications in physical and life sciences and agriculture and natural resources. The distribution is similar among women in the various Aboriginal identity groups with some minor differences. Registered Indian women on reserves and Inuit women tend to have higher proportions in the major field of education, while Aboriginal men and women have higher proportions in personal, protective and transportation services compared to the other identity groups. The distribution of men by major field is quite different from the distribution of women. Close to half (47%) of Aboriginal men are found in the field of architecture, engineering and related technologies, compared to only 4% of Aboriginal women. Aboriginal men also comprise a larger proportion in the fields of personal, protective and transportation services (14%), compared to Aboriginal women (9%). This pattern is similar for all of the male Aboriginal identity groups when compared to their female counterparts.

Employment and Occupations

The National Occupational Classification system (NOC) organizes occupations into categories based on skill types and skill levels. This allows occupations to be grouped into four broad hierarchical skill levels based on the extent of education and training required for a given occupation: Level A, Level B, Level C, and Level D. This study examined the distributions for women and men in 14 occupations within these four skill levels by identity group. Occupations within Level A require the most extensive education and training, while occupations within Level D require the least education and training. In general, Aboriginal women tend to be found in semi-skilled occupations and especially sales and service occupations. The largest proportion of Aboriginal women was found within Level C, which is comprised of semi-skilled occupations, such as clerical and sales and service occupations. This category accounts for 37% of Aboriginal women in the labour force. Another 19% of Aboriginal women are found in other sales and service occupations (Level D). Aboriginal women's occupational distributions are also somewhat different from those of non-Aboriginal women, at least when Level A and D occupations are compared. The proportion of non-Aboriginal in Level A occupations is 26% compared to 19% among Aboriginal women, while the proportion in Level D occupations is about 5% lower.

Slight differences were observed when comparing occupational classifications of women in the various Aboriginal identity groups. The proportions of women at both the highly skilled (Level A) and unskilled (Level D) ends of the skills spectrum are slightly higher for Inuit women, followed by Registered Indian women. Meanwhile, Métis women are slightly more represented in Level C occupations. The results showed further that Aboriginal men's occupational distributions were quite different from those of Aboriginal women. Smaller proportions of Aboriginal men were found in Level A and Level C occupations and larger proportions are found in Level B and D occupations. The largest occupational groups among Aboriginal men were semi-skilled manual occupations (20% of the labour force) and skilled crafts and trades (19% of the labour force).  It was shown that Aboriginal women were much more frequently found in clerical, sales, service and professional occupations, while Aboriginal men are much more frequently found in crafts, trades, manual labour and management.

In addition to employment or self-employment for wages or other income, people do a lot of unpaid work in or around the home. The census identifies various types of household activities such as housework (including cleaning, cooking, yard work, and home maintenance) and childcare (amount of time caring for children). The results of this study show that Inuit women and Registered Indian women reported the largest proportions of "full time" childcare (more than 60 hours per week). While 28% of Inuit women and 29% of Registered Indian women were engaged in more than 60 hours of childcare per week, the proportion of Métis women was 17%. There is no doubt that childcare is the most time-consuming activity. Among Aboriginal women engaged in childcare, the majority of women spending more than 60 hours or more caring for children per week were between the ages of 25-34 years. In sum, smaller proportions of Aboriginal men were engaged in "full time" childcare compared to Aboriginal women.

Meanwhile, close to 93% of both Aboriginal women and non-Aboriginal women reported time spent either cleaning, cooking, conducting household maintenance or yard work compared to 86% of Aboriginal men and 88% of non-Aboriginal men. In addition, it was shown that a higher proportion of Aboriginal women (26%) reported spending more than 30 hours doing housework when compared to non-Aboriginal women (20%), Aboriginal men (13%) and non-Aboriginal men (8%). In fact, a significantly higher proportion of Registered Indian women living on reserve (20%) reported spending 60 hours or more doing housework, when compared to Registered Indian women living off reserve (10%), Métis women (9%), Inuit women (11%) and non-Aboriginal women (6%).

Income

This study examined Aboriginal women's incomes in several different ways. First, the average individual incomes and median incomes of women were compared by age group and to those of men. Second, the distribution of these individual income groups by educational attainment was also described. Third, major sources of income were examined in terms of income from employment and income from government transfer payments. Fourth, the distribution of families by income groups was also examined. Last, the study looked at Aboriginal families living below and above the Low Income Cut Off (LICO) before taxes was also profiled [Note 8].

In 2005, the average income of Aboriginal women was $21,773, compared to an average income of $28,272 among non-Aboriginal women in Canada. This means that the average incomes of Aboriginal women were about 77% of the average incomes of non-Aboriginal women. When comparing the various Aboriginal identity groups, it was shown that Inuit women and Métis women have the highest average incomes at about $24,927 and $22,706 respectively, while Registered Indian women have the lowest average income at about $20,743 [Note 9].

For all Aboriginal identity groups, women's average incomes were very low among youth aged 15-24. Average incomes increase with age, reaching their highest levels among those in the 45-64 age groups, and then declines for women 65+ years. The differences between the incomes of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women are smallest, in both absolute and percentage terms, among those in the youngest and oldest age groups when income levels are generally lower. In the middle age groups the differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women are larger, especially among those 45-64 years old.

The difference between women's and men's incomes was smallest among the Inuit population at $3,000. This is followed by the Registered Indian population, where women's incomes are about 80% of men's incomes. The greatest difference among average income is observed for the Métis population, with a difference of roughly $12,000.

The findings showed that increases in the average income of Aboriginal women are a function of higher levels of education. For example, those Aboriginal women with a high school degree or equivalent have an average income of $19,215 compared to $31,000 for those with a university education below a bachelor level and $39,830 for those holding a university degree. This pattern is similar among each of the Aboriginal women's identity groups. However, it should be noted that the average income of Aboriginal women is lower for university degree holders, when compared to the non-Aboriginal population for each identity group, with a difference of roughly $3,000. The exception to this was observed in the female Inuit population, where university degree holders have the highest reported average income of $48,597. Again this is mostly likely related to a northern living allowance and does not necessarily suggest that this group has a higher level of purchasing power.

In addition, Aboriginal men were shown to have higher average incomes, when compared to women regardless of identity group. These differences seem to be related to the gender polarization of various regional labour markets (northern communities and on-reserves), in combination with the types of skills obtained by Aboriginal women and men. For example, labour markets on reserves tend to be dominated by public sector occupations, such as clerical, administrative, health and education-related jobs of which a majority of women tend to occupy. Women, therefore, are more likely than men to obtain related qualifications and earn less income, compared to male-dominated occupations such as the trades and skilled crafts.

The largest portion of income in 2005 among women in all identity groups was derived from employment. This proportion ranged from 83% of the income of Registered Indian women to 86% of Métis women. Yet, the proportion of income from government transfers was higher among Registered Indian and Inuit women, when compared to Métis and non-Aboriginal women and Aboriginal men. In particular, 15% of the income of Registered Indian women was derived from government transfer payments, compared to 7% of the income of Registered Indian men. A similar pattern occurs among men and women for each of the identity groups. In general, women rely more on income from government transfer payments than men.

We know that family income is important since families often act as an economic unit for the purposes of paying for such necessities as housing and food. In this section the concept of "Census Family" is defined as parents and their children, and/or spouses, living together. As one might suspect, Census Family incomes are generally higher than individual incomes. The results of this study showed that despite this, a substantial proportion of Aboriginal families had incomes lower than $20,000 in the year 2005. This proportion was highest among Registered Indian families living on reserve (38%), somewhat lower among Registered Indian families living off reserve (19%) and Inuit families (19%); it was lowest among Métis (11%) families. In comparison, only 7% of non-Aboriginal families had incomes below $20,000. The second lowest income range, $20,000 - $39,999, followed a similar pattern, with a higher proportion of Registered Indian families on reserve (30%) in this income range compared to other identity groups (21% to 26%). When these two levels are combined, the differences between identity groups become larger. While the majority (about 67%) of Registered Indian families on reserves have incomes below $40,000, among Registered Indian families off reserves and among Inuit families the proportion is about 44%, while among Métis the proportion lower at 32% respectively. Only 22% of non-Aboriginal families had incomes below $40,000.

When we examine income of $80,000 or more the differences are equally noticeable. Again, the distinction between Registered Indian families living on and off reserve is important. The proportion of Registered Indian families living on reserve with incomes of $80,000 or more was 7% in 2005, compared to 23% of Registered Indian families living off reserve, and 26% of Inuit families. Among Métis and non-Aboriginal families the proportions were 32% and 37%, respectively.

Low Income

The percentage of Aboriginal women living in poverty is more than double the percentage of non-Aboriginal women. At the time of the 2006 Census, based on before-tax incomes, more than 36% of Aboriginal women, compared with 17% of non-Aboriginal women, were living in poverty. Like many other women living in poverty, Aboriginal women are particularly affected by the social assistance policies of provincial and territorial governments. Furthermore, Aboriginal women employed on reserve may not be covered by the Canada Pension Plan. High rates of poverty among Aboriginal people are having disastrous consequences. Their life expectancy is seven years less than that of the overall Canadian population. As well, there are almost twice as many infant deaths among Aboriginal peoples - a higher rate than the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada.

While the child poverty rate of Aboriginal children has gone down since 1995, Aboriginal peoples are still at a higher risk of poverty. In fact, more than one in three Aboriginal children lives in low-income families. The incidence of low income among children from lone-parent families in 2007 (17%) was almost half of what it was in 1990 (32%), the end of a period of growth and the start of an economic slowdown. In contrast, the percentage of children from two-parent families living in low income has remained fairly stable since 2003 (Statistics Canada, 2009).

Statistics Canada's "low income-rate" measures the percentage of persons who live in a family with an income below the low income cut-off (LICO). The LICO is a statistical measure of the income threshold by which Canadian likely devote a larger share of income than average to the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing. It should be noted that for reserves the low income definition is not considered appropriate and, thus, there are no low income cut-off lines defined for reserves.[Note 10] In 2005, a significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (23%) were living below the low income cut-off, when compared to Aboriginal families headed by men (9%) and non-Aboriginal Census Families headed by women (17%) and men (9%).

Migration and Mobility Patterns

The unique mobility pattern among young Aboriginal women is not a new phenomenon; it has been cited for several decades in previous studies looking at migration and mobility patterns among Aboriginal peoples. Many studies identified that many Aboriginal women in large urban centers, who moved there from reserve, are lone parents. Aboriginal women tend to move in a family context, reflecting a search for the possibility of better social services, improved health care, and educational opportunities that will help them and their children; whereas Aboriginal men tend to report economic factors as primary to decisions for migrating (Clatworthy 1980; Clatworthy and Hull 1983; Maxim, P.S., Keane, C. & White, J. 2003; Newhouse & E. Peters 2003).

The results of this study revealed that close to 50% of the Aboriginal female population moved between 2001 and 2006. This was slightly higher than the mobility rate among the non-Aboriginal female population (41%). Looking at the two components of movers, the proportion of local movers among the Aboriginal female population (27%) somewhat exceeded the proportion among the non-Aboriginal female population (22%). There was even more of a difference when we compare the proportions of the Registered Indian females off reserve, who reported moving in within the five year period at 58%, to those women living on reserve at 24%. Among Aboriginal females 5-19 years old, approximately 45% were movers but about 50% were local movers and 40% had moved from a different area. In the 20-34 year age range the proportion of movers increases to about 63% among Aboriginal women, with about 55% being local movers and 45% migrating from a different area. After the age of 45, the proportions of movers decline, reaching their lowest rates among women over the age of 65+ years.

Meanwhile, the rates are lowest among the Registered Indian population living on reserve and highest among the Registered Indian population living off reserve. Among Registered Indian women from 20 to 34 years old and living off reserve, about 78% moved between 2001 and 2006 and more than 53% were local movers.

Significantly more off-reserve Registered Indian women moved, across all age groups, when compared to those women living on reserve. Although, mobility rates have increased since 1996, this pattern of mobility is very similar to the findings of the 1996 and 2001 for off-reserve Registered Indian women. The reasons for such high mobility rates among the off-reserve Registered Indian population are complex and most likely attributed a host of interrelated factors, such as low income, employment opportunities, inadequate housing and housing affordability, childcare, as well as access to various social services and networks of care.

An important question that was raised at the onset of this study was whether Aboriginal women, now representing a larger share of the Canadian population, "benefited" as much from this strong economic cycle when compared to Aboriginal men and non-Aboriginal men and women and, if so, to what extent? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not straightforward. The findings of this study demonstrate there is much "diversity" among the Aboriginal female population based on the unique the social and economic circumstances of each identity group. The description above provided a context into understanding some of the important differences among Aboriginal women according to their respective identity groups and compared these differences to Aboriginal men, as well as non-Aboriginal women and men. In some instances, we see that some groups of Aboriginal women have shown achievement with respect to higher levels of income and educational attainment but these achievements are contingent on a myriad of factors, such as which Aboriginal identity group they belong to, age, whether they live on or off reserve, and how many children they have. That being said, more general findings conclude that as group, "Aboriginal women" still participate in significantly long hours of unpaid work to maintain a sense of balance in their homes with respect to housework and childcare while simultaneously working outside of the home.  In addition, many Aboriginal women still experience social barriers that have prevented them moving out of low income, attaining higher levels of postsecondary education, and having higher levels of both individual and family incomes when compared to Aboriginal men as well as non-Aboriginal women and men in Canada.




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10.0 Appendix: Terms and Concepts

Aboriginal Identity

Refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, i.e. North American Indian, Métis or Inuit (Eskimo), and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada and/or who were members of an Indian Band or First Nation. In 1991 and previous Censuses, Aboriginal persons were determined using the ethnic origin question (ancestry). The 1996 census included a question on the individual's own perception of his/her Aboriginal identity. The 2006 census question is the same as the one used in 1996.

Aboriginal Responses not included elsewhere

Refers to those who identified themselves as Registered Indians and/or Band members but did not indicate that they were North American Indian, and/or Inuit.

Average Employment Income

The average earnings or employment income, which refers to income received by persons 15 years of age and over during calendar year 2005 as wages and salaries, net income form a non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice, and/or net farm self-employment income. (See also "Average Income.")

Average income

The weighted mean income of individuals 15 years of age and over who reported income for 2005. Average income is calculated from unrounded data by dividing the aggregate income of a specified group of individuals (e.g., males 45 to 54 years of age) by the number of individuals with income in that group.

Average Total Income

Refers to the average 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 RRSPs and RRIFs
  • Other money income.

Census Family

Refers to a married couple (with or without children of either or both spouses), a couple living common-law (with or without children of either or both partners), or a lone parent of any marital status, with at least one child living in the same dwelling. A couple living common-law may be of opposite or same sex.

Census Family Reference Person

In each Census Family, one person is designated as the reference person. For purposes of presentation of historically comparable low-income statistics (in other publications), the following designations have been made. The male spouse or partner is designated as the reference person in couple families. In lone-parent families, the male or female lone parent is the reference person. In same-sex families, the first person in the couple listed on the questionnaire is the family reference person.

Census Family Status

Refers to the classification of the population according to whether or not the persons are members of a Census family. See also "Census Family", "Children" and "Non-family".

Children

Refers to blood, step- or adopted sons and daughters (regardless of age or marital status) living in the same dwelling as their parent(s), as well as grandchildren in households where there are no parents present. Sons and daughters who are living with their spouse or common-law partner, or with one or more of their own children, are not considered to be members of the Census family of their parent(s), even if they are living in the same dwelling. In addition, those sons and daughters who do not live in the same dwelling as their parent(s) are not considered members of the Census family of their parent(s).

Employment Rate (in Reference Week)

Refers to the number of persons employed in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (May 16, 2006), expressed as a percentage of the total population15 years of age and over.

Employment Rate = # Employed / Population 15+ (excluding institutional residents) x 100

The employment rate for a particular group (age, sex, marital status, geographic area, etc.) is the number employed in that group, expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over in that group. (See also "Labour Force.")

Experienced Labour Force

Persons who, during the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (May 16, 2006), were employed or unemployed who worked for pay or in self-employment since January 1, 2005.

Experienced Labour Force = Employed + (Unemployed who last worked in 2005) + (Unemployed who last worked in 2006)

The experienced labour force can also be derived by excluding from the labour force those unemployed persons 15 years of age and over who have never worked or who had last worked prior to January 1, 2005 only. (See also "Labour Force.")

Mobility 5: Five-year mobility status - also called "Mobility Status (5 years ago)"

Refers to the relationship between a person's usual place of residence on Census Day and his or her usual place of residence five years earlier. A person is classified as a non-mover if no difference exists. Otherwise a person is classified as a mover and this categorization is called Mobility Status (5 years Ago). Within the movers category, a further distinction is made between non-migrants and migrants.

Non-movers are persons who, on Census Day, were living at the same address as the one at which they resided five years earlier

Movers are persons who, on Census Day, were living at a different address than the one at which they resided five years earlier

Non-migrants are movers who,
on Census Day, were living at a different address, but in the same Census Subdivision (CSD) as the one they lived in five years earlier

Migrants area movers who, on Census Day, were residing a different CSD five years earlier (internal migrants), or who were living outside Canada five years earlier (external migrants)

Full year, full time workers

Refers to persons 15 years of age and over who worked 49 to 52 weeks, mostly full-time (30 hours or more per week) in 2005.

Highest Level of Schooling (2001)

The Highest Level of Schooling refers to the highest grade or year of elementary or secondary (high) school completed or to the highest year of university or other non-university education completed. University education is considered to be a higher level of schooling than other non-university education. Also, the attainment of a degree, certificate or diploma is considered to be at a higher level than years completed or attended without an educational qualification.

Highest Diploma (2006)

There is an implied hierarchy in this variable (secondary school graduation, registered apprenticeship and trades, college, university) which is loosely tied to the 'in-class' duration of the various types of education. However, at the detailed level a registered apprenticeship graduate may not have completed a secondary school certificate or diploma, nor does an individual with a master's degree necessarily have a certificate or diploma above the bachelor's degree level. Therefore, although the sequence is more or less hierarchical, it is a general rather than an absolute gradient measure of academic achievement.

Industry- based on the 1997 North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)

Refers to the general nature of the business carried out in the establishment where the person worked. If the person did not have a job during the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to enumeration (May 16, 2006), the data relate to the job of longest duration since January 1, 2000. Persons with two or more jobs were required to report the information for the job at which they worked the most hours.

The 2006 industry data are produced according to the 1997 NAICS. The NAICS provides enhanced industry comparability among the three North American Free Trade Agreement trading partners (Canada, United States and Mexico). This classification consists of a systematic and comprehensive arrangement of industries structured into 20 sectors, 99 subsectors and 300 industry groups. The criteria used to create these categories are similarity of input structures, labour skills or production processes used by the establishment.

Labour Force

Refers to persons who were either employed or unemployed during the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (May 16, 2006)

Employed are persons who, during the reference week

  1. did any work at all for pay or in self-employment or without pay in a family farm, business or professional practice

  2. were absent from their job or business, with or without pay, for the entire week because of a vacation, an illness, a labour dispute at their place of work, or any other reasons

Unemployed are persons who, during the reference week, were without paid work or without self-employment work and were available for work and either

  1. had actively looked for paid work in the past four weeks; or
  2. were on temporary lay-off and expected to return to their job; or
  3. had definite arrangements to start a new job in four weeks or less

Legally married (and not separated)

Persons whose husband or wife is living, unless the couple is separated or a divorce has been obtained.

Major Field of Study

Major field of study refers to the predominant discipline or area of learning or training of a person's highest postsecondary degree, certificate or diploma.

Median Age

Age refers to the age at last birthday (as of the Census reference date, May 16, 2006). The median age is the age which divides the population into two halves, i.e. the ages of the first half of individuals are below the median, while those of the second half are above the median.

Median Household Income

The median income of a specified group of households is that amount which divides their income size distribution into two halves. That is, the incomes of the first half of households are below the median, while those of the second half are above the median. Median incomes of households are normally calculated for all units in the specified group, whether or not they reported income.

Mobility Status, 1 year ago

See Mobility 1: One-year mobility status

Mobility Status, 5 years ago

See Mobility 5: Five-year mobility status

Mode of Transportation to Work

Refers to the mode of transportation to work of non-institutional residents 15 years of age and over who worked at some time since January 1, 2005. Persons who indicate in the place of work question that they either had no fixed workplace address or specified a usual workplace address, are asked to identify the mode of transportation they most frequently use to commute from home to work. The variable usually relates to the individual's job in the week prior to enumeration. However, if the person did not work during that week, but had worked at some time since January 1, 2005, the information relates to the job held longest during that period. (See also "Usual place of work.")

Mother Tongue

Refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the census.

Movable Dwellings

Movable dwellings include ‘Mobile home', which is a single dwelling, designed and constructed to be transported on its own chassis and capable of being moved to a new location on short notice. It may be place temporarily on a foundation, such as blocks, posts or a prepared pad. Also includes ‘other movable dwelling', which is a single dwelling, other than a mobile home, used as a place of residence, but capable of being moved on short notice, such as a tent, recreational vehicle, travel trailer or houseboat.

Multiple Aboriginal Responses

Persons who indicated they belonged to more than one Aboriginal Group (North American Indian, or Inuit).

Non-Family Persons

Non-family persons refer to household members who do not belong to a Census Family. They may be related to Person 1 (e.g. Person 1's sister, brother-in-law, cousin, grandparent), or unrelated to Person 1 (e.g. lodger, room-mate, employee). A person living alone is always a non-family person.

Occupations - based on the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S 23)

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 (May 16, 2006), 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.

The 2006 Census occupation data are classified according to the National Occupational Classification for Statistics 2006 (NOC-S 2006). This classification is composed of four levels of aggregation. There are 10 broad occupational categories containing 47 major groups that are further subdivided into 140 minor groups. At the most detailed level, there are 520 occupation unit groups. Occupation unit groups are formed on the basis of the education, training, or skill level required to enter the job, as well as the kind of work performed, as determined by the tasks, duties and responsibilities of the occupation.

Occupied private dwelling

Refers to a private dwelling in which a person or a group of persons is permanently residing. Also included are private dwellings whose usual residents are temporarily absent on Census Day. Unless otherwise specified, all data in housing products are for occupied private dwellings, rather than for unoccupied private dwellings or dwellings occupied solely by foreign and/or temporary residents.

Mobility 1: One-year mobility status - also called "Mobility Status (1 Year Ago)"

Refers to the relationship between a person's usual place of residence on Census Day and his or her usual place of residence one year earlier. A person is classified as a non-mover if no difference exists. Otherwise a person is classified as a mover and this categorization is called Mobility Status (1 Year Ago). Within the movers category, a further distinction is made between non-migrants and migrants.

  • Non-movers are persons who, on Census Day, were living at the same address as the one at which they resided one year earlier

  • Movers are persons who, on Census Day, were living at a different address than the one at which they resided one year earlier

  • Non-migrants are movers who, on Census Day, were living at a different address, but in the same Census Subdivision (CSD) as the one they lived in one year earlier

  • Migrants area movers who, on Census Day, were residing in a different CSD one year earlier (internal migrants), or who were living outside Canada one year earlier (external migrants)

On Reserve

On-reserve population is a derived census variable that is captured by using the CSD type according to criteria established by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC). On- reserve population includes all people living in any of eight CSD types legally affiliated with First Nations or Indian Bands, as well as selected CSDs of various other types that are generally northern communities in Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory.

Part year or part time

Refers to persons 15 years of age and over who worked less than 49 weeks in 2005 and/or worked mostly part time (less than 30 hours per week) in 2005.

Participation Rate

Refers to the labour force in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (May 16, 2006), expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over.

Participation Rate = Labour Force / Population 15+ (excluding institutional residents) x 100.

The participation rate for a particular group (age, sex, marital status, geographic area, etc.) is the labour force in that group, expressed as a percentage of the population 15 years of age and over, in that group. (See also "Labour Force")

Primary Household Maintainer

The first person in the household identified as being the household maintainer. Household Maintainer(s) refers to the person or persons in the household who pay the rent, or the mortgage, or the taxes or the electricity etc., for the dwelling. If no person in the household is responsible for such payments, Person 1 is considered to be the only household maintainer.

Private Households

Private households refer to a person or a group of persons (other than foreign residents) who occupy a private dwelling and do not have a usual place of residence elsewhere in Canada. (See also "Occupied Private Dwelling".)

School Attendance

Refers to the attendance and the type of school attended during the nine-month period between September 2005 and May 16, 2006. An individual's attendance could be either full time or part time (day or evening), even if the individual dropped out after registration. Attendance was counted only for courses which could be used as credits towards a certificate, diploma or degree from a recognized educational institution (elementary or secondary school, registered apprenticeship programs, trade schools, colleges, CEGEPs and universities). Recognized educational institutions also included seminaries, schools of nursing, private business schools, private or public trade schools, institutes of technology, vocational schools, or schools for people who are deaf or blind. Attendance at school was not counted for training received from an employer unless it could be used as credit towards a certificate, diploma or degree from a recognized educational institution.

Single-detached homes

A single dwelling not attached to any other dwelling or structure (except its own garage or shed). A single-detached house has open space on all sides and has no dwellings either above it or below it.

Unemployment Rate

Refers to the unemployed expressed as a percentage of the labour force in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census Day (May 16, 2006).

Unemployment Rate = # Unemployed / Labour Force x 100

The unemployment rate for a particular group (age, sex, marital status, geographic area, etc.) is the unemployed in that group, expressed as a percentage of the labour force in that group, in the week prior to enumeration. (See also "Labour Force.")

Usual Place of Work

This applies to people who did not work at home, did not work outside Canada, and who did go from home to the same location at the beginning of each shift.

Age

Broad age groups were used, as follows:

  1. Total - Age 15 or older
  2. 15-24 years
  3. 25-44 years
  4. 45-64 years
  5. 65+ years

For some tables a more detailed age breakdown was used:

  1. Total - Age 15 or older
  2. 15-24 years
  3. 25-34 years
  4. 35-44 years
  5. 45-54 years
  6. 55-64 years
  7. 65+ years

Age of Youngest Child

The age of the youngest child was used as a way of identifying parents and families with pre-school or school-age children at home.  Two sets of categories for the youngest child were used.  For tables concerned with the family status of individuals the following age categories were used:

Youngest child is 0-15 years old
No child less than 16 years old (includes those without children)
In tables concerned with families, family income and number of children in the family, the following categories were used for age of youngest child
Youngest child is 0-5
Youngest child is 6-14
Youngest child is 15-17
Youngest child is 18-24
Youngest child is 25 or older

Composition of Family Income

Composition of family income identifies the percentage of total family income derived from three major sources in the year 2005:

Income from employment (including wages, salaries and self-employment),
Income from government transfer payments (includingsocial assistance, employment  insurance, old age security and Canada or Quebec pension plans),and Income from other sources (including income from investments and private pensions).

Together these three categories equal 100% of total family income.

Family Low Income Status

This identifies whether the total family income is above or below the Statistics Canada Low Income Cut-Off (LICO).  The Low Income Cut Off is set at a level where families are estimated to spend 20% more than the Canadian average of their income on food, shelter and clothing. The level was last updated in 1992 at which time national expenditure data indicated that Canadian families spent about 34.7% of their income on food, clothing and shelter. The Low Income Cut Off is therefore currently set at 54.7% of family income. Because costs vary, different income levels apply according to the size of the family and the size of the city or town in which they live.  This variable does not apply to those living on reserves.

Highest Level of Schooling (2001)

Highest level of schooling refers to the highest grade or certification achieved by an individual. It assumes that any type of postsecondary education is a higher level than secondary schooling, and that any university is a higher level than non-university postsecondary education. Only the highest level achieved is identified. The following categories were used in this study:

Less than Grade 9 schooling
Grades 9-12 (with or without a secondary certificate)
Non-university postsecondary (with or without a certificate or diploma; includes trades schools, colleges, and private colleges)
University (with or without a certificate, diploma or degree)

Highest Level of Schooling(2006)

There is an implied hierarchy in this variable (secondary school graduation, registered apprenticeship and trades, college, university) which is loosely tied to the 'in-class' duration of the various types of education. However, at the detailed level a registered apprenticeship graduate may not have completed a secondary school certificate or diploma, nor does an individual with a master's degree necessarily have a certificate or diploma above the bachelor's degree level. Therefore, although the sequence is more or less hierarchical, it is a general rather than an absolute gradient measure of academic achievement.

Labour Force Activity

Labour market indicators are standard Statistics Canada concepts.  The labour force participation rate is defined as all those (15 or older) who were employed or looking for work during the week prior to enumeration, divided by the total population (15 or older).  The employment rate is the number of people (15 or older) who were employed during the week prior to enumeration divided by the total population (15 or older). This is sometimes referred to as the "employment/ population ratio." The unemployment rate is the number of people (15 or older) who were unemployed and actively looking for work during the week prior to enumeration, divided by the total number of labour force participants, as described above. Those who are not working and not looking for work because they are on temporary lay-off, or expect to start a job within the next four weeks are also considered unemployed.

Legal Marital Status

This set of categories was used in the migration tables and identifies whether an individual is:

Legally married (and not separated; includes traditional Aboriginal marriages),
Separated (but still legally married),
Divorced,
Widowed, or
Never married (single)

Major Source of Individual Income

Major source of income refers to which major source made up the largest proportion of total individual income in the year 2005:

Income from employment (including wages, salaries and self-employment),
Income from government transfer payments (includingsocial assistance, employment insurance, old age security and Canada or Quebec pension plans),and Income from other sources (including income from investments and private pensions

Marital Status

This variable was used in the migration tables, and identifies whether an individual was married (including common-law marriage and same sex couples) or other (single).

Number of Children

Identifies the average number of children in families with given characteristics.

Place of Residence

For some of the tables and figures the data have been reported by place of residence.  The categories used are:

On Reserve - Total
Off Reserve - Total
Rural (off reserve)
Urban (off reserve)

On reserve refers to those living on Indian reserves or settlements and off-reserve refers to all other locations. Urban refers to those living in Census Metropolitan Areas, and rural refers to those living in all other locations. A Census Metropolitan Area, or CMA, is an urban area with a population of more than 100,000, together with adjacent urban and rural areas that have a high degree of social and economic integration with the urban core. The total on-reserve population is included in the first category, even though some of the reserves are located in urban areas. There are a few largely Aboriginal communities, referred to as "northern communities" by Indian and Northern Affairs that are included with the reserve population.

Place of Residence in 2005

The Census questionnaire asks about the individual's place of residence one year ago, that is, in May 2005.  The responses are categorized first by whether the person lived in the same Census Division one year ago as they do in 2006, and then in terms of whether they lived on or off reserve or in urban or rural areas.  External migrants are those who did not live in Canada in 2005.  Following are the categories used in this study:

  • Same Census Division in 2005
  • Different Census Division in 2005
    • On Reserve
    • Off Reserve – Total
      • Off Reserve – Rural
      • Off Reserve – Urban
    • External Migrant

Population 15+ in Private Households and Population in Census Families

Most of the tables in this study are concerned with the population in Census Families, but some are based on the population in private households.  The population in Census Families does not include the non-family population, that is, individuals living on their own or with other, unrelated individuals.

School Attendance

Refers to whether an individual was attending school at any level during the 2005-2006 school year. Attendance is classified as full time if the course is longer than 6 weeks and if the individual is taking 75% or more of a normal class load. Other attendance is classified as part time. The (full or part time) attendance rate is defined as the population attending school (full or part time) as a percentage of the total population.




Footnotes

  1. This is also known as "ethnic mobility" which has been shown to be the main explanation for the recent population growth for North American Indian and Métis (Guimond, Eric. 2003. "Fuzzy Definitions and Population Explosion: Changing Identities of Aboriginal Groups in Canada," in D. Newhouse and E. Peters (eds.), Not Strangers in These Parts: Urban Aboriginal Peoples. Ottawa, ON: Policy Research Initiative). (return to source paragraph)

  2. * Index of Continuity = (Number with Home Language / Number with Mother Tongue) * 100 (return to source paragraph)

  3. J. Hull, 2001. Source: Development and Demographic Methods Section, Demography Division, Statistics Canada, 2002. Derived from the 2000-based Registered Indian Population Projections. Data not available for other Aboriginal identity groups.(return to source paragraph)

  4. Gendered racism is based on the social theory of intersectionality which explores the myriad of ways Black, Indigenous, and other women of colour face inequalities compounded by racialization, class, and sex. (return to source paragraph)

  5. Please note that pay rates and cost of living vary substantially in different regions of the country. This has implications for comparisons involving the Inuit and the Registered Indian populations in particular. The great majority of the Inuit population lives in northern Canada where both the cost of living and average wages are higher than elsewhere in the country. In addition, a large minority of the Registered Indian population lives on reserves where the cost of living may be quite different from other rural or urban areas of the country. For example, the cost of food and clothing tends to be higher than other areas, while the cost of housing tends to be lower because of government subsidies. Low Income Cut Off does not apply on reserves. (return to source paragraph)

  6. As Hull points out, it is important to recognize that, while the Inuit population have higher average incomes living in Northern communities tend to also mean that wage levels as well as costs are generally higher in these areas than in other parts of Canada. Northern jobs may include a cost of living allowance in addition to the basic wage or salary. With a high cost of living the Inuit population does not necessarily have a high level of purchasing power (Hull, 2001). (return to source paragraph)

  7. See "Family Low Income" in Appendix: Terms and Concepts. (return to source paragraph)

  8. Please note that pay rates and cost of living vary substantially in different regions of the country. This has implications for comparisons involving the Inuit and the Registered Indian populations in particular. The great majority of the Inuit population live in northern Canada where both the cost of living and average wages are higher than elsewhere in the country. In addition, a large minority of the Registered Indian population lives on reserves where the cost of living may be quite different from other rural or urban areas of the country. For example, the cost of food and clothing tends to be higher than other areas, while the cost of housing tends to be lower because of government subsidies. Low Income Cut Off does not apply on reserves. (return to source paragraph)

  9. As Hull points out, it is important to recognize that while the Inuit population have higher average incomes living in Northern communities tend to also mean that wage levels as well as costs are generally higher in these areas than in other parts of Canada. Northern jobs may include a cost of living allowance in addition to the basic wage or salary. With a high cost of living the Inuit population does not necessarily have a high level of purchasing power (Hull 2001). (return to source paragraph)

  10. See "Family Low Income" in Appendix; Terms and Concepts. (return to source paragraph)