Winnipeg has most aboriginal people in Canada
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 | 11:40 AM CT
More aboriginal people live in Winnipeg than in any other major city in Canada, according to new census data released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.
One in 10 Winnipeggers identified themselves as aboriginal in the 2006 census — the largest percentage of any major city in the country. The Manitoba capital also has the largest aboriginal population in sheer numbers, at 68,380.
The growth of the city's aboriginal population — defined as those who said they were Indian, Métis or Inuit — has been dramatic in recent years, growing by 22 per cent over five years, compared with only one per cent for non-aboriginal Winnipeggers.
Damon Johnson, head of the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg, said the numbers are significant for the city, with implications for governments, social agencies and businesses.
Too many aboriginal Winnipeggers have not integrated successfully into city life, Johnson said, and action needs to be taken to change this.
In Winnipeg, almost 41,000 of the aboriginal census respondents said they were Métis, an increase of almost 10,000 in just five years.
Nationally, this is the first census to show Canada's aboriginal population topping the million mark, an increase of 45 per cent from a decade earlier.
Part of the reason for the increase is higher birth rates among aboriginal people compared to the non-aboriginal population, according to Statistics Canada.
But it's also because more people than before are identifying themselves as aboriginal.
The median age for the Canadian aboriginal population is 27, compared with 40 for the non-native population — in part due to a shorter estimated life span for aboriginal people, as well as a higher birth rate.
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