1,400,685 People Reported Aboriginal Identity in 2011

New data from the National Household Survey (NHS) show that 1,400,685 people reported an Aboriginal identity in 2011, representing 4.3 percent of the total Canadian population. Aboriginal people accounted for 3.8 percent of the population in the 2006 Census.

Of the people reporting an Aboriginal identity in 2011, 851,560, or 60.8 percent, identified as First Nations (North American Indian) only. Another 451,795, or 32.3 percent, identified as Métis only; and 59,445, or 4.2 percent, identified as Inuit only.

Other Aboriginal identities accounted for an additional 26,475 people, or 1.9 percent of the Aboriginal population, and 11,415 people, or 0.8 percent, reported more than one Aboriginal identity.

Ontario was the province where the largest number of Aboriginal people lived, with 301,425, representing 21.5 percent of the total Aboriginal population. In addition, nearly six in ten (57.6 percent) Aboriginal people lived in one of the four western provinces. In 2011, 16.6 percent of the Aboriginal population lived in British Columbia; 15.8 percent in Alberta; 14.0 percent in Manitoba and 11.3 percent in Saskatchewan.

Aboriginal people made up the largest shares of the population of two territories. In Nunavut, 86.3 percent of the population were Aboriginal people and in the Northwest Territories 51.9 percent. In Yukon, Aboriginal people accounted for 23.1percent of the population.

The Aboriginal population is younger than the non-Aboriginal population.

Children aged 14 and under accounted for more than 28.0 percent of the Aboriginal population, compared with 16.5 percent among the non-Aboriginal population.

Additionally, Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 comprised 18.2 percent of the Aboriginal population, compared with 12.9 percent of the non-Aboriginal population. Seniors aged 65 and over represented about 6 percent of the Aboriginal population, less than half of the proportion of 14.2 percent in the non-Aboriginal population.

Living arrangements of Aboriginal children: Aboriginal children aged 14 and under in Canada were living in a variety of arrangements in 2011.Among the 392,105 Aboriginal children aged 14 and under, half, or 194,585 children, were living in a family with both of their parents, compared with three-quarters of non-Aboriginal children. Another 134,845 Aboriginal children lived in a lone-parent family compared with 17.4 percent of non-Aboriginal children. Among both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in lone-parent families, the majority lived with a female lone parent.

Aboriginal languages: In 2011, 240,815 Aboriginal people, or 17.2 percent of the total Aboriginal population, reported that they were able to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language.

In the 2011 NHS, 202,495 Aboriginal people reported an Aboriginal mother tongue, fewer than the number of Aboriginal people who reported that they were able to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language. This implies that a number of Aboriginal people have acquired an Aboriginal language as a second language.

The ability to converse in an Aboriginal language was highest among Inuit, among First Nations people, the proportion was 22.4 percent, and Métis, 2.5 percent.

The majority of Indian reserves and settlements participated in the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS). However, 36 of the 863 inhabited reserves were incompletely enumerated because enumeration was either not permitted, was interrupted before completion, or because of natural events (for example, forest fires). Most of the people living on reserves are First Nations Registered Indians, and consequently, the impact of the incomplete enumeration will be greatest on data for this population. Estimates and trends from other data sources suggest that the Inuit population living outside of Inuit Nunangat is overestimated at the national level.