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Highest certificate, diploma, or degree

Chart 13 Highest level of educational attainment, population aged 25 to 64 years, by Aboriginal identity, Canada, 2011

Description for Chart 13

Almost half of Aboriginal people reported they had a postsecondary qualification

In 2011, almost half (48%) of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 reported they had a postsecondary qualification. By comparison, about two thirds (65%) of non-Aboriginal people in the same age group had a postsecondary qualification, a difference of 17 percentage points.

Further, 45% of First Nations people aged 25 to 64 years had postsecondary qualifications, compared to 55% of Métis and 36% of Inuit in the same age group.

There was also a difference in the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with 'no certificate, diploma or degree'. Among Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64, 29% had 'no certificate, diploma or degree' while the proportion of non-Aboriginal people in the same age group with the same level of education was 12%.

The proportion of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 with a high school diploma or equivalent as their highest level of educational attainment was 23%, the same proportion as observed for the non-Aboriginal population.

For additional information on education attainment, see 2011 National Household Survey: Data tables.

Postsecondary educational attainment

Chart 14 Highest level of post-secondary educational attainment, population aged 25 to 64 years, by Aboriginal identity, Canada, 2011

Description for Chart 14

Aboriginal people more likely to have trades and college certificates than university degrees

Of those with First Nations identity aged 25 to 64 years, 45% had postsecondary qualifications: 13% had a trades certificate; 19% had a college diploma; and 9% had a university degree.

Over half (55%) of Métis in the same age group had postsecondary qualifications: 16% had a trades certificate; 23% had a college diploma; 4% a university certificate or diploma below the bachelor level; and 12% had a university degree. These are the highest proportions among the three Aboriginal groups (First Nations people, Métis and Inuit).

More than one-third (36%) of Inuit aged 25 to 64 had postsecondary qualifications: 13% had a trades certificate; 16% had a college diploma; 2% had a university certificate or diploma below the bachelor level; and 5% had a university degree.

For additional information on education attainment, see The educational attainment of Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

Barriers to further education or training

Table 2
Barriers to further education or training, by Aboriginal identity, high school completers and leavers aged 18 to 44 years, Canada, 2012
Table summary
This table displays the results of Barriers to further education or training Off-reserve First Nations people, Métis, Inuit, completers and leavers, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
  Off-reserve First Nations people Métis Inuit
completersNote  leavers completersNote  leavers completersNote  leavers
percent
Time constraints 24 38Note * 21 48Note * 26 39Note *
Courses do not match needs 19 26Note * 18 30Note * 27 27
Lack of confidence/preparedness 20 42Note * 19 46Note * 22 32Note *
Not a personal priority 25 45Note * 24 41Note * 27 43Note *
Cost 34 42Note * 37 52Note * 18 19
Personal/family responsibilities 31 50Note * 24 46Note * 37 52Note *
Personal health 10 21Note * 6 13Note * 7 12

More barriers to education or training among high school leavers than completers

Leavers were more likely than completers to report that they lacked the confidence or felt unprepared to further their schooling. For example, among First Nations people living off reserve aged 18 to 44 years 42% of leavers identified this as a barrier, compared with 20% of completers. Leavers among this group were also more likely than completers to report that furthering their education was not a personal priority (45% versus 25%).

Leavers were more likely than completers to report that time constraints (too busy, no time to study) kept them from taking further education or training. Leavers were also more likely than completers to report that the courses available did not match their needs. Financial considerations usually play a role in continuing education. Leavers were more likely than completers to report costs were a barrier. For example, among Métis aged 18 to 44 years 52% of leavers identified this as a barrier, compared with 37% of completers.

Many Inuit reported that personal or family responsibilities kept them from further education.

For additional information, see The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey.

Literacy and numeracy

Table 3
Average literacy and numeracy scores of population aged 16 to 55 years, by Aboriginal identity, Canada and oversampled populations, 2012
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average literacy and numeracy scores of population aged 16 to 55 years Aboriginal identity population , Non-Aboriginal identity population , Aboriginal identity population and Non-Aboriginal identity population (appearing as column headers).
  Aboriginal identity population Non-Aboriginal identity population Aboriginal identity population Non-Aboriginal identity population
Literacy score Numeracy score
Canada 260 274 244 266
Ontario 269 276 252 267
Manitoba 259 276 245 267
Saskatchewan 248 274 232 266
British Columbia 266 275 250 267
Yukon 242 288 224 274
Northwest Territories 229 280 210 271
Nunavut 207 290 187 279

Aboriginal people have lower literacy and numeracy scores than their non-Aboriginal counterparts

The Aboriginal population across Canada scored an average of 260 in literacy, which was lower than the average score of 274 for the non-Aboriginal population. For the seven provinces and territories that were oversampled, this difference also held true, but the magnitude of the difference varied. In Ontario and British Columbia, it was 7 and 9 points lower respectively; in the three territories, it was more than 40 points lower.

The average numeracy score for the Aboriginal population across Canada was 244, whereas the score for the non-Aboriginal population was 266. In the seven provinces and territories oversampled, Aboriginal population scores were lower than their non-Aboriginal counterparts, but these differences varied considerably. Among the four provinces, the difference ranged from 15 points lower in Ontario to 35 lower in Saskatchewan; in the territories, the difference was more than 50 points lower. Within each province and territory, the difference was slightly larger for numeracy than for literacy.

For additional information, see Skills in Canada: First Results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).