Aboriginal Demographics from the 2011 National Household Survey

Planning, Research and Statistics Branch

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Table of contents

Part 1. Aboriginal Peoples: Highlights

Aboriginal Peoples (identity-based) - The size of the Aboriginal population was 1,400,685 in 2011

Aboriginal population was 1,400,685 in 2011, up from 1,172,790 in 2006.

Aboriginal people accounted for 4.3% of the total population of Canada enumerated in the 2011 NHS, up from 3.8% in 2006.

 

The size of the Aboriginal population was 1,400,685 in 2011

Text description of figure 1 - Pie Chart Showing the Size (1,400,685) and composition of the Aboriginal Population in 2011

The pie chart shows the proportion of each Aboriginal group that makes up the total Aboriginal population in 2011.

  • In 2011, there were 697,510 Registered Indians, making up 49.8% of the Aboriginal population.
  • In 2011, there were 213,900 Non-Status Indians, making up 15.3% of the Aboriginal population.
  • In 2011, there were 418,380 Métis, making up 29.9% of the Aboriginal population.
  • In 2011, there were 59,115 Inuit, making up 4.2% of the Aboriginal population.
  • In 2011, there were 11,780 with other Aboriginal identities, making up 0.8% of the Aboriginal population.

Note: The "Other Aboriginal" category refers to respondents who reported more than one Aboriginal identity group, and those respondents who reported being a Band member with no Aboriginal identity and no Registered Indian status.

Note: * Other Aboriginal refers to respondents who reported more than one identity group, and those who reported being a Band member with no Aboriginal identity and no Registered Indian status.

Statistics Canada's analysis focuses on the three main Aboriginal identity groups of First Nations, Métis and Inuit, with a distinction by registration status among the population with First Nations identity only.

AANDC uses the entire count of individuals who indicated registration status as a unique group, along with the three other non-registered groups of Non-Status Indians, Métis and Inuit.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

Aboriginal Peoples (identity-based) - Age Pyramid of Aboriginal Population, 2011

The age structure of the Aboriginal population is much younger than the rest of the Canadian population.

Amongst the Aboriginal population, 46% of individuals are under age 25, compared to 29% for the rest of the Canadian population.

 

Age Pyramid of Aboriginal Population, 2011

Text description of figure 2 - Age Pyramid of the Aboriginal Population, 2011

This graph is an age pyramid that compares the proportions, by sex and five-year age increments, of the Aboriginal and the Other Canadian populations in 2011.

  • In 2011, 4.9% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 0 and 4, while 4.8% were females. In the same year, 2.8% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 0 and 4, while 2.7% were females.
  • In 2011, 4.6% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 5 and 9, while 4.4% were females. In the same year, 2.7% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 5 and 9, while 2.6% were females.
  • In 2011, 4.8% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 10 and 14, while 4.5% were females. In the same year, 2.9% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 10 and 14, while 2.8% were females.
  • In 2011, 5.1% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 15 and 19, while 4.8% were females. In the same year, 3.3% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 15 and 19, while 3.2% were females.
  • In 2011, 4.1% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 20 and 24, while 4.1% were females. In the same year, 3.3% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 20 and 24, while 3.2% were females.
  • In 2011, 3.3% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 25 and 29, while 3.7% were females. In the same year, 3.2% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 25 and 29, while 3.3% were females.
  • In 2011, 2.9% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 30 and 34, while 3.4% were females. In the same year, 3.2% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 30 and 34, while 3.4% were females.
  • In 2011, 3.0% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 35 and 39, while 3.3% were females. In the same year, 3.2% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 35 and 39, while 3.4% were females.
  • In 2011, 3.0% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 40 and 44, while 3.6% were females. In the same year, 3.4% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 40 and 44, while 3.6% were females.
  • In 2011, 3.2% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 45 and 49, while 3.7% were females. In the same year, 4.0% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 45 and 49, while 4.1% were females.
  • In 2011, 3.0% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 50 and 54, while 3.3% were females. In the same year, 4.0% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 50 and 54, while 4.1% were females.
  • In 2011, 2.3% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 55 and 59, while 2.6% were females. In the same year, 3.5% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 55 and 59, while 3.7% were females.
  • In 2011, 1.8% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 60 and 64, while 1.9% were females. In the same year, 3.1% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 60 and 64, while 3.2% were females.
  • In 2011, 1.2% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 65 and 69, while 1.3% were females. In the same year, 2.3% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 65 and 69, while 2.4% were females.
  • In 2011, 0.8% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 70 and 74, while 0.9% were females. In the same year, 1.7% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 70 and 74, while 1.8% were females.
  • In 2011, 0.4% of the Aboriginal population were males between the ages of 75 and 79, while 0.5% were females. In the same year, 1.3% of the Other Canadian population were males between the ages of 75 and 79, while 1.5% were females.
  • In 2011, 0.3% of the Aboriginal population were males over the age of 80, while 0.5% were females. In the same year, 1.3% of the Other Canadian population were males over the age of 80, while 2.0% were females.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

 

Aboriginal Identity Population

Text description of figure 3 - Regional Aboriginal Identity Population Proportions

This map shows the pie graphs for each province or territory that indicate the proportion of the region's population in 2011 that consists of Aboriginal residents.

  • In British Columbia, there are 232,290 Aboriginal residents, who make up 5.4% of the provincial population.
  • In Alberta, there are 220,695 Aboriginal residents, who make up 6.2% of the provincial population.
  • In Saskatchewan, there are 157,740 Aboriginal residents, who make up 15.6% of the provincial population.
  • In Manitoba, there are 195,895 Aboriginal residents, who make up 16.7% of the provincial population.
  • In Ontario, there are 301,430 Aboriginal residents, who make up 2.4% of the provincial population.
  • In Québec, there are 141,915 Aboriginal residents, who make up 1.8% of the provincial population.
  • In New Brunswick, there are 22,620 Aboriginal residents, who make up 3.1% of the provincial population.
  • In Nova Scotia, there are 33,850 Aboriginal residents, who make up 3.7% of the provincial population.
  • In Prince Edward Island, there are 2,230 Aboriginal residents, who make up 1.6% of the provincial population.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 35,800 Aboriginal residents, who make up 7.1% of the provincial population.
  • In the Yukon Territory, there are 7,710 Aboriginal residents, who make up 23.1% of the territorial population.
  • In the Northwest Territories, there are 21,160 Aboriginal residents, who make up 51.9% of the territorial population.
  • In Nunavut, there are 27,360 Aboriginal residents, who make up 86.3% of the territorial population.

 

Total Aboriginal Identity Population (1,400,685 nationally)

Text description of figure 4 - Regional Aboriginal Population Proportions by Aboriginal Identity

The map shows pie charts that indicate the distribution of the Aboriginal population of each province or territory by Aboriginal Identity group.

  • In British Columbia, there are 232,290 Aboriginal people, of whom 52% are Registered Indian, 18% are Non-Status Indian, 28% are Métis, 1% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Alberta, there are 220,695 Aboriginal people, of whom 48% are Registered Indian, 9% are Non-Status Indian, 41% are Métis, 1% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Saskatchewan, there are 157,740 Aboriginal people, of whom 62% are Registered Indian, 6% are Non-Status Indian, 32% are Métis, 0% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Manitoba, there are 195,895 Aboriginal people, of whom 57% are Registered Indian, 4% are Non-Status Indian, 38% are Métis, 0% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Ontario, there are 301,430 Aboriginal people, of whom 47% are Registered Indian, 25% are Non-Status Indian, 26% are Métis, 1% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Quebec, there are 141,915 Aboriginal people, of whom 44% are Registered Indian, 21% are Non-Status Indian, 25% are Métis, 9% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In New Brunswick, there are 22,620 Aboriginal people, of whom 52% are Registered Indian, 26% are Non-Status Indian, 19% are Métis, 2% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Nova Scotia, there are 33,850 Aboriginal people, of whom 44% are Registered Indian, 27% are Non-Status Indian, 26% are Métis, 2% are Inuit, and 1% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Prince Edward Island, there are 2,230 Aboriginal people, of whom 47% are Registered Indian, 34% are Non-Status Indian, 17% are Métis, 2% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are 35,800 Aboriginal people, of whom 29% are Registered Indian, 32% are Non-Status Indian, 20% are Métis, 17% are Inuit, and 2% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In the Yukon Territory, there are 7,710 Aboriginal people, of whom 77% are Registered Indian, 11% are Non-Status Indian, 9% are Métis, 2% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In the Northwest Territories, there are 21,160 Aboriginal people, of whom 63% are Registered Indian, 4% are Non-Status Indian, 13% are Métis, 20% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.
  • In Nunavut, there are 27,360 Aboriginal people, of whom 1% are Registered Indian, 0% are Non-Status Indian, 0% are Métis, 99% are Inuit, and 0% have other Aboriginal identities.

Note: The "Other Aboriginal" category refers to respondents who reported more than one Aboriginal identity group, and those respondents who reported being a Band member with no Aboriginal identity and no Registered Indian status.

Aboriginal Peoples (identity-based) - Distribution across Residency Type, 2011

Place of residence varies across groups.

About half (45%) of Registered Indians live on reserve.

The majority of Non-Status Indians (75%) and Métis (71%) live in urban areas.

Inuit live predominantly in rural areas (56%).

 

Distribution across Residency Type, 2011

Text description of figure 5 - Distribution across Residency Type, 2011

The graph is a stacked bar graph that shows the proportion of people in each Aboriginal group who live on reserve, in rural areas, in a non-Census Metropolitan area (CMA) population centre, and in a CMA population centre.

  • Of the Registered Indian population in 2011, 45% lived On Reserve, 12% lived in Rural areas, 18% lived in Non-CMA Population centres, and 24% lived in CMA Population centres.
  • Of the Non-Status Indian population in 2011, 3% lived On Reserve, 23% lived in Rural areas, 25% lived in Non-CMA Population centres, and 50% lived in CMA Population centres.
  • Of the Métis population in 2011, 1% lived On Reserve, 29% lived in Rural areas, 27% lived in Non-CMA Population centres, and 44% lived in CMA Population centres.
  • Of the Inuit population in 2011, 0.3% lived On Reserve, 56% lived in Rural areas, 32% lived in Non-CMA Population centres, and 11% lived in CMA Population centres.
  • Of the Non-Aboriginal population in 2011, 0.1% lived On Reserve, 18% lived in Rural areas, 16% lived in Non-CMA Population centres, and 66% lived in CMA Population centres.

Population centre: Area with a population of at least 1,000 and a population density of 400 persons or more per square kilometre (replaces the term ‘urban area').

Census metropolitan area (CMA): An area consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a core. Must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the core.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

Aboriginal Peoples - First Nation Reserves by Population Size, 2011

According to the 2011 Census of Population, 70% of First Nations reserves have less than 500 inhabitants.

First Nations reserves include legally defined Indian reserves, Indian settlements, other land types created by the ratification of Self-Government Agreements, and the northern village of Sandy Bay in Saskatchewan.

 

First Nation Reserves by Population Size, 2011

Text description of figure 6 - First Nation Reserves by Population Size, 2011

This is a bar graph that shows the number of First Nations reserves in 2011 that have under 100, 100-249, 250-499, 500-999, 1000-1999, and 2000+ inhabitants.

Notes:

  • N=793 out of a possible 997 First Nations reserves were delineated by Statistics Canada in 2011. Not included are unpopulated reserves and 31 incompletely enumerated reserves for which population counts are not available.
  • A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories, with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves, were excluded.
  • Overall, 70% of reserves in 2011 have fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 285 First Nations reserves with fewer than 100 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 147 First Nations reserves with 100-249 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 125 First Nations reserves with 250-499 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 136 First Nations reserves with 500-999 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 70 First Nations reserves with 1000-1999 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 30 First Nations reserves with more than 2000 inhabitants.

Notes:

  • N=793 out of a possible 997 First Nation reserves delineated by Statistics Canada in 2011. Not included are unpopulated reserves and 31 incompletely enumerated reserves for which population counts are not available.
  • A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves were excluded.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census of Population, Geosuite.

Aboriginal Peoples - First Nation Reserves with less than 500 inhabitants by Region, 2011

According to the 2011 Census, there were 557 reserves with less than 500 inhabitants.*

54% of First Nation reserves with less than 500 inhabitants are in British Columbia.

 

First Nation Reserves with less than 500 inhabitants by Region, 2011

Text description of figure 7 - First Nations Reserves with Less than 500 Inhabitants by Region, 2011

This is a bar graph that shows the number of reserves with fewer than 500 inhabitants by region.

Notes:

  • Not included are unpopulated reserves and the 31 incompletely enumerated reserves for which population counts are not available.
  • A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories, with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves, were excluded.
  • In 2011, there were 32 First Nations reserves in the Atlantic region that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 10 First Nations reserves in Québec that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 81 First Nations reserves in Ontario that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 29 First Nations reserves in Manitoba that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 66 First Nations reserves in Saskatchewan that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 40 First Nations reserves in Alberta that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there were 298 First Nations reserves in British Columbia that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • In 2011, there was 1 First Nations reserve in the Northwest Territories that had fewer than 500 inhabitants.
  • There are no reserves in Nunavut or in the Yukon.

Notes:

  • * Not included are unpopulated reserves and 31 incompletely enumerated reserves for which population counts are not available.
  • A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves were excluded.

Source: Statistics Canada, 2011 Census of Population, Geosuite.

Part 2. Population Growth: Highlights

Population Growth - Aboriginal Ancestry Population, 1901-2011*

The Aboriginal ancestry population has been growing substantially faster than the Canadian population since 1971.

There were three distinct periods of population growth:

  • 1901 - 1941 Slow Growth
  • 1941 - 1971 Rapid Growth
  • 1971 - 2011 Explosion

 

Aboriginal Ancestry Population, 1901-2011*

Text description of figure 8 - Aboriginal Ancestry Population, 1901-2011

The graph is composed of a line graph, which shows the Aboriginal ancestry population in Canada from 1901 to 2011, divided into periods of slow growth, rapid growth, and explosion, and a bar graph, which shows the population growth percentage for the Aboriginal population and for the entire Canadian population.

  • Overall, between 1971 and 2011, the Aboriginal Ancestry population grew by 487% while the Canadian population grew by 52%.
  • From 1901 to 1941, the Aboriginal Ancestry population experienced slow growth.
  • In 1901, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 127.9 thousand.
  • In 1911, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 105.6 thousand.
  • In 1921, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 114.1 thousand.
  • In 1931, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 128.9 thousand.
  • In 1941, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 160.9 thousand.
  • From 1941 to 1971, the Aboriginal Ancestry population experienced rapid growth.
  • In 1951, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 165.6 thousand.
  • In 1961, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 220.1 thousand.
  • In 1971, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 312.8 thousand.
  • From 1971 to 2011, the Aboriginal Ancestry population experienced explosive growth.
  • In 1981, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 491.5 thousand.
  • In 1986, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 711.7 thousand.
  • In 1991, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 1,002.7 thousand.
  • In 1996, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 1,102.0 thousand.
  • In 2001, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 1,319.9 thousand.
  • In 2006, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 1,678.2 thousand.
  • In 2011, the Aboriginal Ancestry population was 1,836.0 thousand.

Note: * Only Ancestry population counts are available prior to 1996.

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1901 to 2006 Censuses of Population and 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

Population Growth - Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Groups, 1996-2011

Growth rates vary across groups.

Between 1996 and 2006, Métis population growth exceeded the theoretical maximum natural increase of 5.5% per year due in large part to an increased propensity to self-identify.

Between 2006 and 2011 the Métis annual growth dropped to 3.3% while the Non-Status Indian growth rose to almost 10%.

 

Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Groups, 1996-2011

Text description of figure 9 - Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Groups, 1996-2011

The graph shows the average annual growth of each Aboriginal identity group for the years 1996-2001, 2001-2006, and 2006-2011, in relation to the maximum natural increase of 5.5%.

Note: The maximum natural increase rate is obtained from the highest birth rate observable in exceptional conditions from which the lowest mortality rate is subtracted. Such a combination of high fertility and low mortality has probably never been observed (Guimond, 1999).

  • From 1996 to 2001, the Registered Indian population grew by 2.7% annually. From 2001 to 2006, the Registered Indian population grew by 2.2% annually. From 2006 to 2011, the Registered Indian population grew by 2.3% annually.
  • From 1996 to 2001, the Non-Status Indian population grew by 3.8% annually. From 2001 to 2006, the Non-Status Indian population grew by 5.0% annually. From 2006 to 2011, the Non-Status Indian population grew by 9.9% annually.
  • From 1996 to 2001, the Métis population grew by 8.0% annually. From 2001 to 2006, the Métis population grew by 6.3% annually. From 2006 to 2011, the Métis population grew by 3.3% annually.
  • From 1996 to 2001, the Inuit population grew by 2.3% annually. From 2001 to 2006, the Inuit population grew by 2.2% annually. From 2006 to 2011, the Inuit population grew by 3.8% annually.
  • From 1996 to 2001, the Non-Aboriginal population grew by 0.7% annually. From 2001 to 2006, the Non-Aboriginal population grew by 1.0% annually. From 2006 to 2011, the Non-Aboriginal population grew by 0.9% annually.

Note: * This rate is obtained from the highest birth rate observable in exceptional conditions from which the lowest mortality rate is subtracted. Such a combination of high fertility and low mortality has probably never been observed (Guimond, 1999).

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses of Population, and 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

Population Growth - Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Population by Residency Type, 1996-2011

Growth varies by place of residence.

Nationally, the growth of the total Aboriginal population between 1996 and 2011 was more rapid off Indian reserves.

However the annual growth rate on reserve between 2006 and 2011 was slightly higher than the rate of the non-Aboriginal population off reserve.

 

Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Population by Residency Type, 1996-2011

Text description of figure 10 - Annual Growth Rate of Aboriginal Population by Residency Type, 1996-2011

This is a bar graph that shows the average annual growth of the total Aboriginal population on reserve, in rural areas off reserve, and in population centres off reserve, for the period 1996-2001, 2001-2006, and 2006-2011.

Note: A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and the Northwest Territories, with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves, were excluded.

  • The Aboriginal population living on reserve had an annual growth rate of 2.8% from 1996-2001, 1.5% from 2001-2006, and 1.0% from 2006-2011.
  • The Aboriginal population living in rural areas off reserve had an annual growth rate of 4.4% from 1996-2001, 4.2% from 2001-2006, and 3.8% from 2006-2011.
  • The Aboriginal population living in population centres off reserve had an annual growth rate of 4.7% from 1996-2001, 4.8% from 2001-2006, and 4.8% from 2006-2011.

Note: A major change to the "on-reserve" definition occurred in 2011. All communities in the Yukon and in the Northwest Territories with the exception of two legally defined Indian reserves were excluded.

Sources: Statistics Canada, 1996, 2001 and 2006 Censuses of Population, and 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

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