2006 Aboriginal Population Profile for Edmonton

by Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division Analysts

Introduction

This report examines the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the Aboriginal population living in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Edmonton.1 The census metropolitan area of Edmonton includes Enoch Cree Nation (Stony Plain 135), Alexander (Alexander 134) and Paul (Wabamun 133A and 133B). The 2006 Census and 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), which provide an extensive set of data about Aboriginal people, are the data sources.

The report focuses on the Aboriginal identity population, which refers to those people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.

The term 'First Nations' is used throughout the report to refer to people who identified as North American Indian. The term 'Aboriginal population' is used to refer to the Aboriginal identity population.

Setting the context

There were 1,172,790 Aboriginal people in Canada in 2006, accounting for 3.8% of Canada's total population.

A total of 188,365 Aboriginal people lived in Alberta, representing 6% of the provincial population.

The census metropolitan area of Edmonton, with 52,105 Aboriginal people, had the second largest Aboriginal population of all cities in Canada in 2006, second only to Winnipeg, which was home to 68,380 Aboriginal people. Edmonton ranked fifth among Canadian cities, with an Aboriginal population of 26,570 people.

In 2006, 5% of the total population of Edmonton was Aboriginal. By comparison, several smaller urban centres in Alberta had larger proportions of Aboriginal people. Wood Buffalo, with 6,470 Aboriginal people, and Wetaskiwin, with 1,335 Aboriginal people, each had the largest proportion (12%) of Aboriginal people among cities in Alberta. This was followed by Grande Prairie, at 9%, with 6,300 Aboriginal people and Cold Lake, also at 9%, with 1,040 Aboriginal people. In contrast, the Aboriginal people of Edmonton comprised 2% of that city's total population.

Between 2001 and 2006, the Aboriginal population in Edmonton grew by 27%, from 40,930 to 52,100 people. The Métis population of Edmonton grew by 32% over this time period, while the Inuit population grew by 28% and the First Nations population, by 23%.

Métis—largest Aboriginal group in Edmonton

In 2006, 27,740 persons living in Edmonton identified as Métis, accounting for just over half (53%) of the city's Aboriginal population. Another 22,440 identified as First Nations and 590 as Inuit. The First Nations population accounted for 43% of the Aboriginal population, while Inuit accounted for 1%. Another 3% reported multiple or other Aboriginal responses.2

Of those who identified as First Nations people in 2006, about eight in 10 (79%) reported being a Treaty Indian or a registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada.

About the data sources

The census provides a statistical portrait of Canada and its people. The most recent census was on May 16, 2006.

The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) was conducted between October 2006 and March 2007. The survey provides extensive data on Inuit, Métis and off-reserve First Nations children aged 6 to 14 and those aged 15 and over living in urban, rural and northern locations across Canada. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey was designed to provide data on the social and economic conditions of Aboriginal people in Canada (excluding reserves).

It was possible to report both single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity questions on the census and the Aboriginal Peoples Survey. Census data used in this article for First Nations people, Métis and Inuit are based on the single responses only. Total Aboriginal identity population counts include people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, and/or those who reported being a Registered or Treaty Indian, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation. The Aboriginal Peoples Survey data represent a combination of both the single and multiple Aboriginal identity populations.

Data have been provided for the total Aboriginal identity population and in some cases they have been broken down by Aboriginal group, sex and age group. For Aboriginal groups where the census count of the population aged 15 years and over is 200 or less, only the census count has been provided. No further data are shown due to potential data quality issues that can result from small counts that arise when several variables are cross-tabulated.

A young population

The Aboriginal population living in Edmonton is much younger than the non-Aboriginal population. In 2006, the median age3 of the Aboriginal population in Edmonton was 25 years, compared to 37 years for the non-Aboriginal population.

In 2006, half (50%) of the Aboriginal population was under the age of 25, compared to one-third (33%) of non-Aboriginal people. Furthermore, only 4% of Aboriginal people were 65 years and over, compared to 11% of the non-Aboriginal population. Three in 10 (30%) Aboriginal people in Edmonton were children under the age of 15, compared to 18% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts (see chart 1). For more details on the age distribution, see table 1 in the appendix.

Aboriginal children aged 14 years and under represented 8% of the city's children. About one third (34%) of the First Nations population was 14 years of age and under. For the Métis and Inuit populations, about one quarter (26% and 25%, respectively) were aged 14 and under.

Chart 1 Population pyramid for the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal populations, Edmonton, 2006

Aboriginal children more likely than non-Aboriginal children to live with a lone parent

In 2006, about half of Aboriginal children aged 14 and under (51%) lived with both parents. Compared with their non-Aboriginal peers, Aboriginal children were more likely to live with a lone mother (34% versus 14%) or a lone father (7% versus 3%). Aboriginal children were also more likely to live with their grandparents or other relatives, with no parent present (8% versus 1%) (see table 2 in the appendix).

Aboriginal youth less likely to be attending school

Overall, in 2006, Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 living in Edmonton had lower school attendance rates than their non-Aboriginal counterparts (51% versus 61%). However, Aboriginal adults had a slightly greater tendency to return to school later in life than did non-Aboriginal adults. For example, 10% of Aboriginal women 35 years of age and older were attending school in 2006, compared to 7% of non-Aboriginal women in the same age group4 (see table 3 in the appendix).

The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey found that among the Aboriginal population in Alberta (excluding reserves), men and women had different reasons for not completing high school. For young Aboriginal men aged 15 to 34, the most commonly reported reasons were 'wanted to work', 'had to work' or 'bored with school'. 'Pregnancy/taking care of children' and 'bored with school' topped the reasons provided by Aboriginal women in the same age group.

About half of Aboriginal men and women have completed postsecondary education

About half of Aboriginal women (49%) and Aboriginal men (48%) aged 25 to 64 had completed postsecondary education compared to over 60% (61% and 65%, respectively) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Postsecondary education includes a trades certificate, a college diploma or a university certificate, diploma or degree. Aboriginal men were most likely to have completed their postsecondary schooling with a trades credential and Aboriginal women were most likely to have obtained a college diploma. The non-Aboriginal population was more likely to have obtained a university degree compared to their Aboriginal counterparts (see text table 1).

In 2006, about three in 10 Aboriginal men (31%) and Aboriginal women (28%) 25 to 64 years of age had less than a high school education, compared to 14% and 13%, respectively, of their non-Aboriginal male and female counterparts.

Text table 1 Highest level of educational attainment of people aged 25 to 64 years, by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal identity and sex, Edmonton, 2006

Aboriginal people in Edmonton less likely to obtain a university degree

Among young adults aged 25 to 34 in Edmonton, Aboriginal women were slightly more likely than their male counterparts to have obtained a university degree. In 2006, 9% of Aboriginal women and 6% of Aboriginal men reported having a university degree in the 2006 Census. (This includes all certificates, diplomas or degrees at the bachelor's level or above.) Similar figures were observed among older Aboriginal women (9%) and men (7%) aged 35 to 64 (see chart 2).

Regardless of their age group or sex, Aboriginal people living in Edmonton in 2006, were less likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to have a university degree.

Chart 2 Percentage of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people 25 to 34 and 35 to 64 years of age with a university degree, Edmonton, 2006

Higher unemployment rates

In 2006, the unemployment rate5 for the Aboriginal core working age population (aged 25 to 54) in Edmonton was higher than that of the non-Aboriginal population (8.7% compared to 3.5%) (see chart 3). Unemployment rates were higher for women than they were for men, regardless of the population group.6

Chart 3 Unemployment rates for people aged 25 to 54 years, by Aboriginal identity group and sex, Edmonton, 2006

Unemployment rates were higher for Edmonton's young people. In 2006, 19.2% of First Nations youth aged 15 to 24 years were unemployed, as were 9.5% of Métis youth, and 8.2% of non-Aboriginal youth (see table 4 in the appendix).

Employment rate lower among Aboriginal people

Another measure of labour market performance is the employment rate.7 In 2006, the employment rate for First Nations people aged 25 to 54 living in Edmonton was 66.9%. Métis adults had an employment rate of 76.2%. These rates were both lower than that of the non-Aboriginal population (84.4%).

Overall, men were more likely than women to be employed, regardless of group. Among First Nations people, men had an employment rate of 78.0% compared to 58.9% for First Nations women. For the Métis in Edmonton, the employment rate for men was 84.8% compared to 68.7% for women. Similar differences were found among non-Aboriginal men and women, with employment rates of 89.6% and 79.3%, respectively (see table 5 in the appendix).

Métis women working full time full year at similar rates as non-Aboriginal women

One-third of Métis women (33%) living in Edmonton were working full time full year8 in 2005. This proportion mirrors that of their non-Aboriginal counterparts (34%). The proportion for First Nations women working full time full year was about one in four (25%).

Overall, men were more likely than women to be full-time full-year workers, regardless of group. Among Métis in Edmonton, 43% of men worked full time full year compared to 33% of Métis women. While 33% of First Nations men worked full time full year compared to 25% of First Nations women (see text table 2).

Text table 2 Percentage of full-time full-year workers, by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal identity and sex, Edmonton, 2005

Occupations in 'sales and services' and ''trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations' most prevalent

In studying the labour market of a given area, it is helpful to examine its occupational9 make-up. In 2006, the three most common occupational categories10 for both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal experienced labour forces in Edmonton were 'sales and service', 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations' and 'business, finance and administrative'. However, the kinds of jobs people held differed for men and women. Men were much more likely than women to work in 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations'. Women were more likely than men to work in 'sales and service' as well as in 'business, finance and administrative occupations'. This holds true for both the Aboriginal and the non-Aboriginal populations in Edmonton.

In 2006, Aboriginal men were more likely than their non-Aboriginal counterparts to work in 'trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations' (46% versus 32%). Aboriginal women were somewhat more likely than non-Aboriginal women to have 'sales and service' jobs (36% versus 29%) (see table 6 in the appendix).

Aboriginal people continue to earn less than non-Aboriginal population

In 2000, the median earnings11 of full-time full-year Aboriginal earners in Edmonton (measured in 2005 dollars) were $33,700. By 2005, this had increased to $36,100. However, Aboriginal people who worked full time full year in 2005 continued to earn less than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In both 2005 and 2000, Aboriginal people in Edmonton working full time full year earned 80% of what their non-Aboriginal counterparts were earning (see table 7 in the appendix).

Total income lower for Aboriginal people

The census collects a number of measures of income that help in understanding the economic situation of a population. Earnings data have been provided for the population working full time full year in 2005. It is also useful to look at total income12 as sources of income go beyond that of employment. In 2005, about one in four (23%) Aboriginal people with income in Edmonton had a total income of $40,000 or over compared to over one in three (37%) of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. In 2005, Aboriginal women had the lowest median income ($16,800), whether compared to Aboriginal men ($26,200), to men ($39,000) or to non-Aboriginal women ($22,600) (see table 8 in the appendix).

Additionally, in Edmonton, 7% of the Aboriginal population aged 15 years and over and 4% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts reported having no income in 2005 (data not shown).

Almost one-third of Aboriginal people in Edmonton living below the low income cut-off

Statistics Canada uses the concept of low income cut-off (LICO)13 to indicate an income threshold below which a family will likely devote a larger share of its income on the necessities of food, shelter and clothing than the average family. In 2005, in Edmonton almost one third (32%) of Aboriginal people14 were living under the LICO, compared to 13% of non-Aboriginal people. In addition, about four in 10 (42%) Aboriginal children (aged 14 years and under) in Edmonton were living under the LICO, compared to 16% of non-Aboriginal children (data not shown). These data are based on the before-tax LICO.

Chart 4 Proportion of persons living below the before-tax low income cut-off by Aboriginal identity group and sex, Edmonton, 2005

Almost two-thirds of Edmonton's Aboriginal population moved at least once between 2001 and 2006

On May 16, 2006 (the date of the 2006 Census) there were 52,105 Aboriginal people living in the census metropolitan area of Edmonton. This count does not include all of the Aboriginal people who may have lived in Edmonton at some point during the year, but only those who were living in Edmonton on that particular day.15

Moreover, census population counts may not reflect the possibility that people move between communities—for example, someone might move from a reserve community to a large city and back again within the same year. Almost four in 10 (37%) Aboriginal people living in Edmonton on May 16, 2006 had lived at the same address five years before compared to 53% of the non-Aboriginal population. Between 2001 and 2006, another 37% of Aboriginal people had moved at least once within Edmonton, and 26% had moved to Edmonton from another community. A community may refer to another municipality, a reserve, or a rural area (see table 9 in the appendix).

When asked on the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey why they moved to their current city, town or community, most Aboriginal people in Alberta (excluding reserves) reported work-related reasons, followed closely by family-related reasons.

One in seven live in homes needing major repairs

In Edmonton, about one in seven (14%) Aboriginal people lived in homes requiring major repairs16 in 2006, down from 18% in 2001. In comparison, the share of Edmonton's non-Aboriginal population living in dwellings in need of major repairs was 5% in 2006 and 7% in 2001 (see table 10 in the appendix).

The proportion of Aboriginal people living in crowded17 homes was 8% in 2006, the same as the percentage reported in 2001. The comparative rates for the non-Aboriginal population were 2% in both 2006 and 2001.

More than half of First Nations and Métis report excellent or very good health

Over half of Métis and off-reserve First Nations adults (the population aged 15 and over) living off reserve in Edmonton rated their health as excellent or very good in 2006. When asked as part of the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey whether their health was excellent, very good, good, fair or poor, 57% of Métis adults and 53% of the First Nations adult population living off reserve gave themselves a rating of excellent or very good. A further 26% of Métis and 27% of First Nations adults living off reserve reported that their health was good.

Over half live with one or more chronic conditions

The 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey also inquired about chronic conditions18 that had been diagnosed by a health professional. Over half of Métis (56%) and half of off-reserve First Nations adults (50%) living off reserve in Edmonton reported that they had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. Among Métis, arthritis or rheumatism was the most commonly reported condition, affecting 22% of adults, followed closely by high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (21%) and respiratory problems19 (18%). Among the First Nations adult population living off reserve, the most frequently reported conditions were: high blood pressure, heart problems or effects of a stroke (21%), arthritis or rheumatism (20%), and respiratory problems (15%).


Notes:

  1. The geographic area covered in this report is the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Edmonton. A census metropolitan area is a large urban centre. Census metropolitan areas are formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centered on a large urban area (known as the urban core). A census metropolitan area must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more must live in the urban core. For maps, see: Map
  2. Includes people who reported more than one Aboriginal identity group and those who reported being a registered or Treaty Indian and/or member of an Indian band or First Nation without reporting an Aboriginal identity.
  3. The median age is the point where exactly one-half of the population is older and the other half is younger.
  4. A new version of the school attendance question was used in the 2006 Census. Studies on data certification showed important variations with previous censuses and with the Labour Force Survey. It appears that the 2006 Census could have overestimated the school attendance for the population aged 45 years and over. We recommend users of the attendance at school variable interpret the 2006 Census results with caution. For more details on the changes to the questionnaire for the Education module, see: Census questions on education: Some important changes.
  5. The unemployment rate for a particular group is the unemployed in that group, expressed as a percentage of the labour force in that group, in the week (Sunday to Saturday) prior to Census day (May 16, 2006).
  6. Unemployment data for the Inuit are not shown due to potential data quality issues that can result from small counts that arise when several variables are cross-tabulated.
  7. The employment rate refers to the number of employed people, in a given group, as a percentage of the total population in that group.
  8. The term 'full-time full-year workers' refers to persons 15 years of age and over who worked 49 to 52 weeks (mostly full time) in 2005 for pay or in self-employment.
  9. Occupation 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, 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.
  10. Occupations contained within the categories can cover a broad range of skill levels. For example, the business and finance occupation category includes professional occupations requiring a university degree, as well as clerical occupations that require a high school diploma or equivalent.
  11. Median earnings are earnings levels that divide the population into two halves, i.e., half of the population receiving less than this amount, and half, more. Earnings or employment income refers to the income received by persons 15 years of age and over during calendar year 2005 as wages and salaries, net income from a non-farm unincorporated business and/or professional practice, and/or net farm self-employment income.
  12. Total income refers to the 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 registered retirements savings plans (RRSPs) and registered registered retirement income funds (RRIFs), other money income.
  13. The low income cut-off is a statistical measure of the income threshold level below which Canadians are estimated to devote at least one-fifth more of their income than the average family to the necessities of food, shelter and clothing. For the 2005 matrix of low income before-tax cut-offs and additional information, please refer to the 2006 Census Dictionary, Catalogue no. 92-566-X.
  14. For the purposes of low income statistics, certain populations, including persons living on Indian reserves, are excluded. This is because the low income cut-offs are based on certain expenditure-income patterns from survey data which are not available for the entire population (survey does not cover Indian reserves, the three territories and residents of institutions or military barracks).
  15. For example, students who return to live with their parents during the year are included at their parents' address, even if they lived elsewhere while attending school or working at a summer job.
  16. Dwellings in need of major repairs are those that, in the judgment of the respondent, require major repairs to such things as defective plumbing or electrical wiring, and/or structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings, etc.
  17. Crowding is defined as more than one person per room. Not counted as rooms are bathrooms, halls, vestibules and rooms used solely for business purposes.
  18. Chronic conditions were those that had lasted or were expected to last six months or more and had been diagnosed by a health professional.
  19. Respiratory problems include asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.