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    Aboriginal Peoples: Fact Sheet for Canada

    Aboriginal Peoples: Fact Sheet for Canada

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    About the data sources

    The 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) and the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) are the main data sources for this fact sheet. The 2011 NHS collected social and economic data about the Canadian population. The 2012 APS was a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis, and Inuit aged 6 and older. The data are for the Aboriginal identity population, which refers to people who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, First Nations, 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. It was possible to report both single and multiple responses to the Aboriginal identity questions on the NHS and the APS. The NHS data in this fact sheet are based on single responses only. The APS data represent a combination of the single and multiple Aboriginal identity populations. Nearly all off-reserve First Nations, Métis, and Inuit respondents reported a single identity. In some communities of Northern Ontario, the NHS was not completed during the regular collection period due to forest fires. The NHS Special Collection for 13 Indian reserves and Indian settlements in Northern Ontario (October 2011) was a voluntary survey in which all households in these 13 areas received the questionnaire used to enumerate canvasser areas in the 2011 NHS. These data are included in the NHS estimates for Canada and Ontario. As a result, data in this fact sheet will be different from data in other tables on the Statistics Canada website.

    Aboriginal people in Canada number 1.4 million

    • Representing 4% of the total Canadian population, 1,409,100Note 1 people in Canada had an Aboriginal identity in 2011.
    • About one in five (22%) Aboriginal people in Canada resided in Ontario with an additional 58% living in one of the four western provinces. In addition, 10% of the Aboriginal population lived in Quebec, another 7% lived in the Atlantic provinces and 4% resided in Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
    • Canada was home to 859,970 First Nations people, 451,795 Métis, and 59,445 Inuit, with the rest reporting otherNote 2 Aboriginal identities (26,485) or more than one Aboriginal identity (11,415). From 2006 to 2011, the First Nations population in Canada increased by 23%, while the Métis population rose by 16%, and the Inuit population by 18%.Note 3
    • Of those who identified as First Nations people in 2011, three-quarters (75% or 645,940) reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian as defined by the Indian Act of Canada. Over one-third (38% or 328,445) of all First Nations people (50% of First Nations people who were Treaty or Registered Indians, or 322,650 individuals) lived on a reserve.

    Aboriginal population younger than non-Aboriginal

    • Close to half (46%) of Aboriginal people in Canada were under the age of 25, compared with 30% of the non-Aboriginal population. More than half of Inuit (54%) were in this age group, as were 49% of First Nations people (52% of those living on a reserve and 47% of the off-reserve population) and 41% of Métis.
    • In 2011, the median age of First Nations people was 25.8; the off-reserve population was older (27.1) than those living on a reserve (23.8). Métis had a median age of 31.4; that of Inuit was 22.8. All three groups were younger than the non-Aboriginal population, whose median age was 40.6.

    Half of Aboriginal children live with both parents

    • In Canada, 43% of First Nations children aged 14 and younger lived in a family with both their parents in 2011, as did 57% of Métis children and 58% of Inuit children. The corresponding percentage for non-Aboriginal children was 74%. Over a third (37%) of First Nations children, 30% of Métis children and 26% of Inuit children lived in a lone-parent family, rates that were higher than that for their non-Aboriginal peers (17%).
    • In 2011, 4% of Aboriginal children aged 14 and younger were in foster care; at 6%, the percentage was highest for First Nations children living off reserve. Moreover, of all children in foster care in Canada in 2011, just under half (48%) were Aboriginal children, the majority of whom (82%) were First Nations children.
    Table 1
    Percentage distribution of children aged 14 and under by living arrangement, by selected Aboriginal identity group and area of residence, Canada, 2011
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Percentage distribution of children aged 14 and under by living arrangement Total Aboriginal identity population, First Nations single identity, Métis single identity, Inuit single identity, Non-Aboriginal identity population, Total, On reserve and Off reserve, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population First Nations single identity Métis single identity Inuit single identity Non-Aboriginal identity population
    Total On reserve Off reserve
    percent
    Children of both parentsNote 1 47.5 42.6 42.6 42.6 56.9 58.2 74.1
    Stepchildren 8.5 8.6 8.3 8.9 8.6 6.4 5.8
    Children of lone parent 34.3 37.0 35.9 37.8 29.8 25.8 17.4
    Grandchildren in skip-generation family 2.7 3.3 4.5 2.5 1.4 2.3 0.4
    Foster children 3.6 4.5 2.5 6.0 1.7 2.8 0.3
    Children living with other relativesNote 2 2.2 2.5 4.1 1.3 1.2 3.4 1.9

    On-reserve First Nations people and Inuit most likely to live in crowded homes and homes requiring major repairs

    • In 2011, 28% of on-reserve First Nations people and 30% of Inuit in Canada lived in crowded homes, that is, with more than one person per room. Among Métis, the percentage was 3%, and among off-reserve First Nations people, 7%. The comparable figure for the non-Aboriginal population was 4%.
    • One in four First Nations people (26%), 13% of Métis and 30% of Inuit lived in homes in need of major repairs; the rate for First Nations people living on a reserve was 43% while that for those living off-reserve was 15%.
    Table 2
    Percentages living in crowded homes and homes in need of major repairs, by selected Aboriginal identity group and area of residence, Canada, 2011
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Percentages living in crowded homes and homes in need of major repairs Total Aboriginal identity population, First Nations single identity, Métis single identity, Inuit
    single identity, Non-Aboriginal identity population, Total, On
    reserve and Off
    reserve, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population First Nations single identity Métis single identity Inuit
    single identity
    Non-Aboriginal identity population
    Total On
    reserve
    Off
    reserve
    percent
    CrowdingNote 1 11.4 14.8 27.7 6.8 3.1 29.9 4.0
    Home in need of majorNote 2 repairs 21.7 25.9 42.9 15.4 13.2 29.8 6.8

    Ability to speak an Aboriginal language highest among on-reserve First Nations people and Inuit

    • In Canada, 45% of First Nations people living on a reserve and 64% of Inuit reported the ability to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language, a rate higher than among off-reserve First Nations people (9%) and Métis (2%). The Aboriginal languages most commonly spoken by First Nations people were Cree languages, Ojibway, and Oji-Cree. Métis spoke mostly Cree languages, Dene, and Michif. Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun and Inuvialuktun were the Aboriginal languages most commonly spoken by Inuit.
    • The number who reported being able to converse in an Aboriginal language exceeded the number who reported an Aboriginal mother tongue, which suggests acquisition of an Aboriginal language as a second language.
    • Based on results of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey,Note 4 60% of off-reserve First Nations people, 37% of Métis and 84% of Inuit aged 6 and older reported that speaking and understanding an Aboriginal language was important to them.

    Chart 1 Ability to converse in an Aboriginal language and Aboriginal language as mother tongue, by selected Aboriginal identity group and area of residence, Canada, 2011

    Description for chart 1

    About half have postsecondary qualifications

    • In 2011, 48% of Aboriginal people aged 25 to 64 in Canada had a certificate, diploma or degree from a trade school, college or university: 45% of First Nations people, 55% of Métis and 36% of Inuit. The comparable percentage for their non-Aboriginal counterparts was 65%.
    • Among those with postsecondary credentials, First Nations people, Métis and Inuit were more likely than non-Aboriginal graduates to have completed programs below the bachelor’s level (trades or college programs).
    • There was also a difference in the proportion of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people with “no certificate, diploma or degree”. In 2011, 33% of First Nations people aged 25 to 64, 21% of Métis and 49% of Inuit did not have a certificate, diploma or degree. The corresponding percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 12%.
    Table 3
    Highest level of educational attainment of population aged 25 to 64, by selected Aboriginal identity group and area of residence, Canada, 2011
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Highest level of educational attainment of population aged 25 to 64 Total Aboriginal identity population, First Nations single identity, Métis single identity, Inuit single identity, Non-Aboriginal identity population, Total, On
    reserve and Off
    reserve, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population First Nations single identity Métis single identity Inuit single identity Non-Aboriginal identity population
    Total On
    reserve
    Off
    reserve
    percent
    No certificate, diploma or degree 29.1 33.3 47.2 25.6 20.8 48.5 12.1
    High school diploma or equivalent 22.7 22.1 18.0 24.4 24.4 15.9 23.2
    Postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree 48.2 44.6 34.8 50.0 54.8 35.6 64.7
    Apprenticeship or trades certificate or diploma 14.3 13.1 12.3 13.6 16.3 13.2 12.0
    College, CEGEP or other non-university certificate or diploma 20.6 19.3 14.6 21.9 23.2 15.6 21.3
    University certificate or diploma below bachelor levelNote 1 3.5 3.6 3.3 3.8 3.5 1.7 4.9
    University certificate, diploma or degree at bachelor level or above 9.8 8.6 4.6 10.8 11.7 5.1 26.5

    Employment rates and median total income increase with education

    • In 2011, the employment rates of First Nations people, Métis and Inuit aged 25 to 64 in Canada who did not have a certificate, diploma or degree were 37.3%, 52.6% and 44.9% respectively. Employment rates were higher for those with further education. For example, among those with postsecondary credentials, the employment rate of First Nations people was 71.0%, while that of Métis was 78.4% and that of Inuit, 73.4%.
    Table 4
    Employment rate of population aged 25 to 64, by highest level of educational attainment, selected Aboriginal identity group and area of residence, Canada, 2011
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Employment rate of population aged 25 to 64 Total Aboriginal identity population, First Nations single identity, Métis single identity, Inuit single identity, Non-Aboriginal identity population, Total, On
    reserve and Off
    reserve, calculated using employment rate (percent) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population First Nations single identity Métis single identity Inuit single identity Non-Aboriginal identity population
    Total On
    reserve
    Off
    reserve
    employment rate (percent)
    Total 62.5 57.1 47.0 62.7 71.2 58.6 75.8
    No certificate, diploma or degree 41.9 37.3 33.0 41.7 52.6 44.9 57.1
    High school diploma or equivalent 64.0 58.9 49.3 62.9 71.1 67.1 71.7
    Postsecondary certificate,
    diploma or degree
    74.2 71.0 64.7 73.4 78.4 73.4 80.7
    • Median total incomeNote 5 was also higher for those with higher education levels. Among First Nations people aged 25 to 64, median total income (rounded to the nearest $1,000) ranged from $14,000 for those with no certificate, diploma or degree to $32,000 for those with postsecondary credentials. The range for Métis was from $20,000 to $40,000, and for Inuit, from $20,000 to $43,000.

    Half rate their health as excellent or very good

    • Based on results of the Aboriginal Peoples Survey, half (52%) the Aboriginal population aged 12 and older in Canada rated their health as excellent or very good in 2012: 51% of First Nations people living off reserve, 55% of Métis, and 48% of Inuit.
    • Métis aged 12 to 24 were the only group who reported an overall health rating on par with that of their non-Aboriginal peers.Note 6

    Chart 2 Excellent or very good self-rated overall health of population aged 12 and over, by selected Aboriginal identity group and age group, Canada, 2012

    Description for chart 2

    • The majority of off-reserve First Nations people (60%), Métis (64%), and Inuit (53%) aged 18 and older reported excellent or very good mental health.Note 7
    • Six in ten off-reserve First Nations people (61%) and Métis (60%) and 42% of Inuit aged 12 and older reported that they had been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition. The corresponding percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 53%.
    • Among off-reserve First Nations people, Métis and Inuit, commonly reported conditions included arthritis excluding fibromyalgia (18%, 18%, and 11%, respectively), high blood pressure (15%, 17% and 11%), and asthma (15%, 15% and 8%). In addition, 14% of off-reserve First Nations people, 12% of Métis and 7% of Inuit reported being diagnosed with a mood disorder, and 14% of off-reserve First Nations people, 13% of Métis and 5% of Inuit reported an anxiety disorder.
    Table 5
    Excellent or very good self-rated mental health of population aged 18 and over, by selected Aboriginal identity group and age group, Canada, 2012
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Excellent or very good self-rated mental health of population aged 18 and over Total Aboriginal identity population (excluding reserves), Off-reserve First Nations people, Métis , Inuit and Non-Aboriginal identity population, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population (excluding reserves) Off-reserve First Nations people Métis Inuit Non-Aboriginal identity population
    percent
    Total 61.4 59.7 64.2 53.3 71.6
    18 to 24 62.0 60.8 65.9 49.8 73.8
    25 to 44 61.0 59.7 63.2 54.3 73.1
    45 and over 61.6 59.3 64.5 54.2 70.2

    One in two Inuit smoke daily

    • In 2012, 27% of off-reserve First Nations people aged 12 and older reported that they smoked daily, as did 26% of Métis and 49% of Inuit. The comparable percentage for the non-Aboriginal population was 15%.
    • First Nations people, Métis and Inuit in all age groups in Table 6 had higher rates of daily smoking than did their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

    Chart 3 Selected health behaviours of population aged 12 and over, by selected Aboriginal identity group, Canada, 2012

    Description for chart 3

    • For those 12 and older, the rate of heavy drinking (five or more drinks on one occasion at least once a month in the 12 months preceding the survey) was 35% for off-reserve First Nations people, 30% for Métis, and 39% for Inuit, compared with 23% for non-Aboriginal people. An estimated 43% of off-reserve First Nations people, 38% of Métis, 40% of Inuit and 36% of non-Aboriginal people aged 12 to 24 reported heavy drinking.
    • At the same time, 31% of off-reserve First Nations people and 38% of Inuit were non-drinkers (consumed no alcohol in the 12 months preceding the survey), compared with 24% of the non-Aboriginal population. The percentage for Métis was 25%. At ages 12 to 24, 43% of First Nations people and 50% of Inuit were non-drinkers. The corresponding percentage for their non-Aboriginal peers was 36%, the same percentage reported by Métis in this age group.
    Table 6
    Selected health behaviours of population aged 12 and over, by selected Aboriginal identity group and age group, Canada, 2012
    Table summary
    This table displays the results of Selected health behaviours of population aged 12 and over Total Aboriginal identity population (excluding reserves), Off-reserve First Nations people, Métis , Inuit and Non-Aboriginal identity population, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
      Total Aboriginal identity population (excluding reserves) Off-reserve First Nations people Métis Inuit Non-Aboriginal identity population
    percent
    12 to 24  
    Daily smoking 18.4 17.1 16.0 45.2 9.7
    Heavy drinkingNote 1 40.4 43.0 37.8 40.3 35.5
    Non-drinking 40.5 42.9 36.3 49.7 36.1
    25 to 44  
    Daily smoking 34.5 33.8 32.6 59.3 17.8
    Heavy drinking 35.2 36.5 32.8 42.0 28.1
    Non-drinking 15.4 16.4 13.3 23.4 17.1
    45 and over  
    Daily smoking 28.3 28.1 27.1 41.0 15.4
    Heavy drinking 25.0 27.7 22.0 31.7 14.7
    Non-drinking 31.1 34.9 26.4 39.7 22.7

    This fact sheet was prepared by Karen Kelly-Scott and Kristina Smith of the Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division of Statistics Canada.

    Notes

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