Fact Sheet - 2011 National Household Survey Aboriginal Demographics, Educational Attainment and Labour Market Outcomes

Demographics

  • The Aboriginal identity population reached 1,400,685 in 2011, about 4% of the total Canadian population.
  • By identity group, Registered Indians represent 50% of the overall Aboriginal population, down from 53% in 2006. The proportion of Non-Status Indians increased from 11% in 2006 to 15% in 2011 while the Métis and Inuit both remained at 30% and 4%, respectively.
  • Seventy-nine percent of Aboriginal people reside in Ontario and the four Western provinces.
  • Over half (56%) of Aboriginal people reside in urban areas (82% for non-Aboriginals). In some of Canada’s largest cities, the concentration of Aboriginal people is higher than the national average of 4%. In Winnipeg, more than one in 10 is Aboriginal (11%), followed by Regina (10%) and Saskatoon (9%).
  • Aboriginal people remain younger than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Forty-six percent of Aboriginal individuals are under the age of 25 years compared to 29% for the non-Aboriginal population (both down from 48% and 31%, respectively, in 2006). The median age of the Aboriginal population is 28 compared with 41 for non-Aboriginals.
  • Forty-eight percent of the Aboriginal population falls within the 25-64 year age group (i.e. working age). This compares to 56% for non-Aboriginal persons.

Education

Aboriginal Population

  • Almost half (48%) of the Aboriginal population of working age has some form of post-secondary qualification. This compares to 65% for the non-Aboriginal population of the same age.
  • The working-age Aboriginal population with a university degree has increased since 2006 (from 8% to 10%).  However, they still lag far behind the non-Aboriginal population at 26%.
  • Of the 66,100 Aboriginal individuals aged 25-64 with a university degree in 2011, 65% were female. This compares to 54% for the non-Aboriginal population.
  • The overall working-age Aboriginal population lags behind in educational attainment with 29% having less than high school compared with 12% for non-Aboriginal individuals of the same age. The gap between the two populations has narrowed between 2006 and 2011, however, going from 19 to 17 percentage points.

Registered (Status) Indian Population

  • Of the overall Aboriginal population of 671,380 aged 25-64, nearly half (48%) reported Registered Indian status in 2011.
  • About 43% of the Status Indian population aged 25-64 has completed some form of post-secondary education (48% for total Aboriginal and 65% for the non-Aboriginal populations).
  • The proportion of working-age Status Indians with a university degree was about 8% in 2011. This proportion was even lower for those living on-reserve [Note 1], [Note 2], [Note 3] at 5%.
  • Status Indian women tended to fare better than their male counterparts for completion of university. Of the 26,900 Status Indians of working age with a university degree, 70% were female.
  • Nationally, 35% of Status Indians of working-age have completed less than high school. Regionally, the Prairie Provinces had three of the four highest rates with Manitoba at 50%, Saskatchewan at 40% and Alberta at 39% (the Northwest Territories came in at 43%). The lowest provincial rate was Nova Scotia at 22%.

Non-Status Indian Population

  • Nearly 99,500 individuals aged 25-64, or about 15% of the Aboriginal population of this age, were Non-Status Indians in 2011.
  • More than half (52%) of the Non-Status Indian population aged 25-64 has completed some form of post-secondary education.
  • There were 10,600 (11%) working-age Non-Status Indians with a university degree in 2011. Of these, 19% resided in rural areas while 80% lived in population centres [Note 4] (less than one percent lived on-reserve).
  • Non-Status Indian women also fared better than their male counterparts for completion of university. Of the 10,600 Non-Status Indians of working age with a university degree, 64% were female.
  • In Canada, 22% of Non-Status Indians of working-age have completed less than high school. Provincially, the highest proportion was found in Prince Edward Island (PEI) at 36% followed closely by Saskatchewan at 35% then Manitoba at 31%. The lowest rates were in the Yukon at 16% [Note 5], British Columbia at 18% and Nova Scotia at 19%.

Métis Population

  • The Métis population aged 25-64 was 219,635 representing 33% of the overall Aboriginal population in 2011.
  • More than half (55%) of the Métis population aged 25-64 has completed some form of post-secondary education.
  • A total of 26,620 (12%) of working-age Métis individuals had completed a university certificate. Of these, 20% lived in rural areas while 80% were residents of population centres (nearly three-quarters of whom lived in Census Metropolitan Areas).
  • About 20% of working-age Métis persons in Canada have completed less than high school. Regionally, three of the Atlantic Provinces had the highest rates with PEI at 30%, Newfoundland and Labrador at 26% and New Brunswick at 25% (conversely Nova Scotia had matched Ontario for the second lowest rate at 16%). The lowest rate was found in the Yukon at 9% [Note 5].

Inuit Population

  • The Inuit population aged 25-64 was 24,770 representing about 4% of the overall Aboriginal population in 2011.
  • More than a third (36%) of the working-age Inuit population has completed some form of post-secondary education.
  • A total of 1,265 (5%) of working-age Inuit had completed a university certificate. Of these, just over a quarter (26%) lived in Inuit Nunangat. About one-third, meanwhile, lived in Census Metropolitan Areas [Note 6].
  • Of the 1,265 Inuit of working-age who completed a university degree, 68% were female.
  • About 49% of Inuit persons aged 25-64 in Canada have completed less than high school. Only two areas show higher rates than the national average; Nunavut at 60% and Quebec at 56%.

Labour Market Activity

Aboriginal Population

  • The Aboriginal population aged 25-64 yrs (i.e. working-age) increased by 21% between 2006 and 2011 to reach 671,380, of whom 481,325 participated in the labour force (72%). By comparison, the number of other Canadians in this age group increased by only 5% between 2006 and 2011.
  • The employment rate for the Aboriginal working-age population has remained stable at about 63% since 2006. However, it is still much lower than the rate for non-Aboriginal individuals (76%).
  • The unemployment rate for the working-age Aboriginal population is more than twice the rate for other Canadians of the same age (13% versus 6%). Nevertheless, the gap between the two populations narrowed slightly going from a difference of eight percentage points in 2006 to seven in 2011.

Registered (Status) Indian Population

  • Of the 321,820 Registered Indians aged 25-64, 213,975 were part of the labour force leading to a participation rate of 66%. This represents a decline of two percentage points since 2006, and is also well below the 2011 non-Aboriginal participation rate of 81% for the same age group.
  • The employment rate for working-age Status Indians was 55% in 2011, over 20 percentage points lower than the rate for non-Aboriginal persons of working age (76%).
  • The unemployment rate for working-age Status Indians was 17%. The proportion was even higher for those living on-reserve at 22%.
  • Status Indian women tended to fare better than their male counterparts. The rate of unemployment for women aged 25-64 was 15% compared to 20% for men. Similar results were returned for on-reserve residents where the female unemployment rate was 18% compared to 26% for males.
  • Eastern provinces had the lowest unemployment rates for working-age Registered Indians with Ontario at 13%, and Quebec and Nova Scotia at 16%. By contrast, the Yukon and New Brunswick exhibited the highest rates at 25% and 24%, respectively.

Non-Status Indian Population

  • Of the 99,480 Non-Status Indians aged 25-64, 73,530 were part of the labour force leading to a participation rate of 74% in 2011.
  • The employment rate for working-age Non-Status Indians was 67% in 2011 (unchanged from 2006), nine percentage points lower than the rate for non-Aboriginal people of the same age.
  • The unemployment rate for working-age Non-Status Indians was 9%. There was very little difference in the rates of those living in rural areas (9.6%) and those living in population centres (9.1%).
  • Non-Status Indian women of working age had an unemployment rate three percentage points lower than that of their male counterparts (8% versus 11%).
  • The Prairie Provinces had three of the four lowest rates of unemployment amongst working-age Non-Status Indians with Saskatchewan and Alberta at 7%, and Manitoba at 8% (Quebec also came in at 7%). The highest unemployment rates were found in the Northwest Territories (NWT) at 18% and Newfoundland and Labrador at 17%.

Métis Population

  • Of the 219,635 Métis aged 25-64 in 2011, 171,875 were part of the labour force leading to a participation rate of 78% in 2011.
  • The employment rate for working-age Métis was 72% (unchanged from 2006), four percentage points lower than the rate for non-Aboriginal people of the same age.
  • The unemployment rate for working-age Métis was 9%. In rural areas, the rate was 10% compared to 8% for those living in population centres.
  • Métis women of working age had an unemployment rate one percentage point lower than that of their male counterparts (8% versus 9%).
  • Manitoba and Alberta had the lowest rates of unemployment amongst Métis aged 25-64 with 6% and 7%, respectively. By contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador had by far and away the highest rate at 21% (the next highest among provinces or territories was New Brunswick at 16%).

Inuit Population

  • Of the 24,770 Inuit aged 25-64, 17,565 were part of the labour force leading to a participation rate of 71% in 2011, two percentage points lower than the 2006 rate.
  • The employment rate for working-age Inuit was 59%, 17 percentage points lower than the rate for non-Aboriginal people in the same age group.
  • The unemployment rate for all Inuit aged 25-64 was 17%. For those living in Inuit Nunangat, the rate was 20%.
  • The rate of unemployment for working-age Inuit women was significantly lower than that of their male counterparts (14% versus 21%).
  • Newfoundland and Labrador at 22%, the NWT at 21% and Nunavut at 21% were the only provinces or territories where the unemployment rate for working age Inuit exceeded the national rate of 17%. These areas include the geographic boundaries of the corresponding Inuit Land Settlement Regions of Nunatsiavut, Inuvialuit and Nunavut.





Footnotes:

  1. “On-reserve” includes legally defined Indian reserves, Indian settlements, other land types created by the ratification of Self-Government Agreements, and northern communities affiliated with First Nations. For more information, please refer to the 2011 National Household Survey Dictionary (referenced below). On-reserve numbers do not adjust for the differences that could be attributed to the participation of different communities between censuses or to changes to the reserve geography definition. (return to source paragraph)
  2. In 2011, 36 Indian reserves and settlements did not participate or were incompletely enumerated in the NHS compared with 22 in the 2006 Census. Provincial breakdowns for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements in 2011 are as follows: 7 in Quebec; 22 in Ontario; 3 in Manitoba; 2 in Saskatchewan; 1 in Alberta and 1 in British Columbia. Data for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements are not available, and therefore, are excluded from On-reserve population counts. (return to source paragraph)
  3. It is important to note that there are a number of reserves with data quality issues (DQ reserves) in 2011. Statistics Canada defines DQ reserves as those having global non-response rates of at least 50% (25% in 2006). Further analysis will be required in order to determine the magnitude and specific impacts. (return to source paragraph)
  4. Starting with the 2011 Census, the term 'population centre' replaces the term 'urban area.' A population centre has a population of at least 1,000 and a population density of 400 persons or more per square kilometre, based on the current census population count. In this analysis, however, the population of a population centre is limited to those living off-reserve. (return to source paragraph)
  5. Caution must be exercised when working with rates in the Yukon due to small population counts. In 2011, there were 400 Non-Status Indians of working age and 385 Métis. (return to source paragraph)
  6. Data for Inuit outside of Inuit Nunangat, as it represents less than 1% of the Canadian population, should be used with caution because of lower reliability. (return to source paragraph)

Sources:

Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, AANDC tabulations.

Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, AANDC tabulations.

Statistics Canada, 2011 National Household Survey, NHS Dictionary, Catalogue number 99-000-XWE.

Prepared by: Statistics and Measurement Directorate, Planning, Research and Statistics Branch, Policy and Strategic Direction Sector