Canadian Geographic
Left navigation image
First Peoples

Growing populations

“We shall live again,” proclaimed a ghost-dance song in the late 1800s, a time when many considered the native population a dying race. Data from the 2001 census affirms the song: at just over 1.3 million (4.4 percent of the total population, compared to 3.8 percent five years earlier), Canada’s native population is on the rise. More accurate reporting is a major factor in this increase.
The upturn is most dramatic in the Métis community, which increased 43 percent in five years because of an increased fertility rate and better enumeration of community members. The First Nations community overall increased sevenfold in the second half of the 20th century, during which time Canada’s general population merely doubled. This is all the more surprising since native birthrates have declined from four times to 1.5 times that of the general population. Births, however, are only part of the picture. Lower infant death rates were a major factor, and about half the increase resulted from better reporting. More reserves were also better enumerated this time around (although some 30 were still not counted), and people were more willing than previously to acknowledge their native roots. Researchers attribute this to esteem-nurturing events such as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People, court rulings on native rights, and the creation of Nunavut. One-third of today’s First Nations population is 14 years or younger. In Nunavut, the median age is 19.1. The median age for First Nations is 24.7, 13 years younger than the median age (37.7) for the general population.


A growing population In the middle of the page is a slide-show animation with self-advancing photographs, including a brightly painted totem pole, an Inukshuk, a tipi village, and various photos of First Nations people. Within the animation is a submenu that can present statistics on Canadian First Nations.


On the next page:

End of section

Go now!  Pointer disabled
Quiz :

When did horses arrive and become incorporated into Plains cultures?

Late 1500s
Early 1700s
Early 1800s