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Indigenous Population Reaches 1.8 Million

By Randy Thoms Sep 22, 2022 | 8:25 AM

Coldsnap Festival / CC

Canada’s Indigenous population continues to increase and get younger.

Figures released from the 2021 Census show 1.8 million Indigenous people living across the country.

That represents 5.0% of the total population in Canada, up from 4.9% in 2016.

Director of the Centre of Indigenous Statistics for Statistics Canada, Christopher Penny, says the rate of growth has slowed.

“The Indigenous population grew by 9.4% from 2016 to 2021, surpassing the growth of the non-Indigenous population over the same period. However, this growth was not as rapid as in years past. For example, from 2011 to 2016, the Indigenous population grew by 18.9%—more than double the 2021 growth rate,” says Penny.

For the first time, over one million people identify as being First Nations in the 2021 Census.

Another 624 thousand identify as being Metis.

More than 800 thousand Indigenous people live in large urban centres, which is a 12.5 per cent increase since 2016.

The Census also found the Indigenous population is younger on average than the non-Indigenous population.

Penny says this follows a trend seen in past Census studies.

Their average age is 33.6 years, while the non-Indigenous population’s average age is 41.8.

Penny notes that the number of elders is declining.

“From 2016 to 2021, the share of Indigenous people aged 65 years and older rose from 7.3% to 9.5%. At the same time, young children aged zero to four years make up a smaller share of the indigenous population than in the past,” says Penny.


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