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Because Vital Statistics data do not include information on Inuit identity in all jurisdictions, mortality rates cannot be calculated specifically for Inuit. However, Inuit in Canada are geographically concentrated—78% live in Inuit Nunangat, and 82% of the area's total population identify as Inuit. While there are limitations, geographic approaches can be employed to calculate mortality for the population of that area.
Data and methods
The Vital Statistics Database (1994 to 2008) and population estimates were used to calculate age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) in five-year intervals around the 1996 and 2006 Census years. Mortality rates were calculated for 1- to 19-year-olds living in Inuit Nunangat and those living elsewhere in Canada.
The ASMR in 2004-2008 for 1- to 19-year-olds in Inuit Nunangat was 188.0 deaths per 100,000 person-years at risk, five times the rate (35.3) elsewhere in Canada. The disparity had not narrowed over the previous decade. In Inuit Nunangat, injuries were responsible for 64% of deaths of children and teenagers, compared with 36% in the rest of Canada.
The persistently high mortality rates for children and teenagers living in Inuit Nunangat, compared with the rest of Canada, are important in understanding the health and socio-economic situation of residents of this region.
Aboriginal, age-standardized mortality rates, child health, death rates, suicide, vital statistics, wounds and injuries
A number of recent studies have examined life expectancy, mortality, hospitalization, and other health indicators for the four Inuit Nunangat land claim regions. Life expectancy at birth for residents of that area is 6 to 11 years less than for people in the rest of Canada, and the infant mortality rate is higher. To date, child and youth mortality rates for residents of Inuit Nunangat have not been calculated. [Full Text]
Lisa N. Oliver (firstname.lastname@example.org) is with the Research Data Centre at Simon Fraser University and Paul A. Peters (1-6913-951-0616; email@example.com) and Dafna E. Kohen (1-613-951-3346; firstname.lastname@example.org) are with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0T6.
What is already known on this subject?
- Life expectancy at birth for residents of Inuit Nunangat is 6 to 11 years less than that of people in the rest of Canada.
- In 2006, the overall mortality rate of residents of Inuit Nunangat was double that of Canada as a whole.
What this study adds?
- This study provides mortality rates by detailed cause of death for children and teenagers aged 1 to 19 living in Inuit Nunangat, compared with those living elsewhere in Canada for two five-year periods: 1996 (1994-1998) and 2006 (2004-2008).
- Age-standardized mortality rates were higher for children and teenagers in Inuit Nunangat compared with the rest of Canada in both 1994-1998 and 2004-2008.
- Injuries accounted for the largest component of mortality among children and teenagers in Inuit Nunangat.
- In 2004-2008, age-standardized suicide rates were up to 30 times higher among children and teenagers in Inuit Nunangat than in the rest of Canada.
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