((Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press))

Statistics Canada's 2006 census found that the number of people identifying themselves as aboriginal topped the million mark for the first time — adding up to 1,172,790 First Nations, Métis and Inuit, or 3.8 per cent of the total population.

Internationally, Canada's aboriginal population is second only to New Zealand's, where the Maori account for 15 per cent of that country's total population.

The study, released on Jan. 15, 2008, also found that Canada's aboriginal population is becoming increasingly urban and is younger than the non-aboriginal population.


  • From 1996 to 2006, the aboriginal population has grown by 45 per cent. That is nearly six times faster than the non-aboriginal population.
  • 73.7 per cent of all Aboriginal Peoples live off-reserve in Canada.
  • 72.1 per cent of all non-reserve Aboriginal Peoples live in urban areas.
  • Ontario has the largest concentration of Aboriginal Peoples at 242,495, or two per cent of the province's population.
  • Winnipeg is home to the largest urban aboriginal population at 68,380 (10 per cent of the city's total population). Edmonton and Vancouver follow close behind.
  • Almost half, or 46 per cent of the aboriginal population, is aged 24 or under, compared with 31 per cent of the non-aboriginal population.
  • The First Nations population is the largest aboriginal group in Canada, at 698,025.
  • Of the aboriginal groups in Canada, the Métis is growing fastest. They experienced 91 per cent growth in the past decade. The Métis population is now 389,785.

Aboriginal homes:

  • Aboriginal Peoples are four times more likely to live in crowded homes than non-aboriginals — but there has still been a six per cent decline since 1996.
  • Aboriginal Peoples are three times more likely to live in a home in need of major repairs than non-aboriginals.
  • Twenty-five per cent of the aboriginal population live in homes that require major repairs, a figure that hasn't changed since 1996.

Aboriginal languages:

Inuit - Knowledge of Inuktitut among the Inuit population is down by three per cent when compared to the 2001 census.

Métis - Knowledge of an Aboriginal language among the Métis population is down by one per cent when compared to the 2001 census.

First Nations - Knowledge of an Aboriginal language including among the First Nations population holds steady at 29 per cent, the same as in 2001.