Statistics Canada says the country’s Aboriginal population has surged past one million, though there may be far more not accounted for.
According to 2006 census data released January 15, the population of those who identify themselves as Inuit, Metis or First Nations had reached 1,172,790. These new numbers indicate a spike of 45 per cent from a decade earlier, meaning that Aboriginal numbers are growing almost six times faster than the general population. At 53 per cent, Quebec’s Aboriginal population is growing nine times faster than the general population.
Even more surprising, Canada’s Métis nearly doubled their numbers between 1996 and 2006, up 91 per cent to 389,785 people. Part of these numbers may be attributed to more people identifying as Métis.
The median age of Aboriginals is also significantly lower, at 27, than the median 40 years among non-aboriginals across Canada. Quebec Aboriginals have a median age of 30, compared to 41 among non-aboriginals. Due to a very high birth rate, nearly half of Canada’s Aboriginal population is under 25.
Despite these large numbers, Statscan estimates that there are still thousands of Aboriginals who haven’t been accounted for, including groups that refused to participate, others whose census polls were interrupted and communities where enumeration was not allowed. In Quebec, seven Aboriginal communities refused the census poll, including the Mohawks of Kanesatake, Kahnawake and Akwesasne.
The Statistics Canada census poll also does not take into account those in prisons or the thousands of homeless Aboriginals across the country.