Winnipeg's Indigenous population highest in Canada, but growth rate is slowing

Winnipeg has the largest Aboriginal population of any major city in Canada, according to the latest Census data.

Winnipeg has 92,810 people identifying as First Nations, Métis or Inuit

From 2006 to 2016, the Indigenous population more than doubled in seven Canadian census metropolitan areas, the latest data from Statistics Canada says. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Winnipeg has the largest Indigenous population of any major city in Canada, according to the latest census data.

The Statistics Canada numbers, based on the 2016 census, show Winnipeg's census metropolitan area (CMA) with 92,810 people identifying as Indigenous — First Nations, Métis and Inuit. 

Edmonton (76,205), Vancouver (61,460) and Toronto (46,315) round out the top four.

Among all CMAs in the country, Thunder Bay's Indigenous people accounted for the highest proportion (12.7 per cent) of the overall population. Winnipeg was second at 12.2 per cent, followed by Saskatoon at 10.9.

However, despite Winnipeg's strong Indigenous numbers, the city is far from the top when it comes to the growth rate of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.

Between 2006 and 2016, the Indigenous population more than doubled in seven CMAs but Winnipeg wasn't one of them.

St. John's led the way with a 237.3 per cent Indigenous growth rate, while Halifax was next at 199 per cent and Moncton followed at 197.9. The slowest growth rates were in Regina (26.4), Winnipeg (37.1) and Saskatoon (45.4).

Canada-wide in 2016, there were 1,673,785 Indigenous people, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population. That is up from 3.8 per cent in 2006 and 2.8 per cent in 1996.

The Métis population (587,545) had the largest increase of any of the groups between 2006-16, rising 51.2 per cent from 2006 to 2016.

The largest population is in Winnipeg, which had 52,130 Métis in 2016, an increase of 28 per cent.

While First Nations people accounted for 2.8 per cent of the total population of Canada, they made up 10.7 per cent of the population in Saskatchewan and 10.5 per cent in Manitoba, and almost one-third of the population in the Northwest Territories (32.1).