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2006 Census: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada in 2006: Inuit, Métis and First Nations, 2006 Census: Definitions and notes

Aboriginal identity population

This report focuses on the Aboriginal identity population.

Aboriginal identity refers to those persons who reported identifying with at least one Aboriginal group, that is, North American Indian, Métis or Inuit, and/or those who reported being a Treaty Indian or a Registered Indian, as defined by the Indian Act of Canada, and/or those who reported they were members of an Indian band or First Nation.

The Aboriginal identity population was counted the same way in 2006, 2001 and 1996, providing comparable data for three census years. However, comparison of Aboriginal data across census years must adjust for incompletely enumerated reserves and settlements. Some Indian reserves and settlements did not participate in the census as enumeration was not permitted, or it was interrupted before completion. In 2006, there were 22 incompletely enumerated Indian reserves, compared to 30 in 2001 and 77 in 1996.

Aboriginal ancestry refers to the ethnic or cultural origin of a person's ancestors, an ancestor being usually more distant than a grandparent. In the census, if a person reports at least one Aboriginal ancestry response, the person is counted in the Aboriginal ancestry population.

In 2006, 1.7 million people reported having at least some Aboriginal ancestry, up from 1.3 million in 2001 and 1.1 million in 1996. Further data on the Aboriginal ancestry population are scheduled for release on April 2, 2008.

Area of residence

On reserve includes the following types of census subdivisions (CSDs) or communities affiliated with First Nations or Indian bands: Indian reserve (IRI), Indian settlement (S-É), Indian Government District (IGD), Terres réservées aux Cris (TC), Terres réservées aux Naskapis (TK), Nisga'a village (NVL), Nisga'a land (NL) and Teslin land (TL), as well as additional CSDs of various other types that are generally northern communities in Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory, which have large concentrations of Registered Indians. All other CSDs are considered to be 'off reserve.'

Urban census metropolitan area (CMA) is an area consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a major urban core. A census metropolitan area must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core.

Urban non-census metropolitan areas (non-CMAs) are smaller urban areas with a population of less than 100,000.

Urban areas have a population of at least 1,000 and no fewer than 400 persons per square kilometre. They include both census metropolitan areas and urban non-census metropolitan areas.

Rural areas include all territory lying outside of urban areas, excluding Indian reserves as defined above. They include remote and wilderness areas, agricultural lands, as well as small towns, villages and other populated places with a population of less than 1,000 and a density of less than 400 persons per square kilometre.


Place of residence 1 year ago indicates whether the person lived in the same residence on Census Day (May 16, 2006) as he or she did one year before (May 16, 2005). People who were living at a different address may have moved within the same census subdivision or from a different census subdivision (including from outside Canada).

Housing and households

Condition of dwelling refers to whether, in the judgement of the respondent, the dwelling requires any repairs (excluding desirable remodelling or additions). Regular maintenance refers to painting, furnace cleaning, etc. Minor repairs refer to the repair of missing or loose floor tiles, bricks or shingles, defective steps, railing or siding, etc. Major repairs refer to the repair of defective plumbing or electrical wiring, structural repairs to walls, floors or ceilings, etc.

Crowding in this report is defined as more than one person per room (not counted as rooms are bathrooms, halls, vestibules and rooms used solely for business purposes). 

Household type - A one-family household consists of a single family (e.g., a couple with or without children). A multiple-family household is made up of two or more families occupying the same dwelling.


Mother tongue refers to the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the census.

Knowledge of languages refers to languages in which the respondent can conduct a conversation.

Home language refers to the language spoken most often at home by the individual at the time of the census.

Notes to reader:

Note on rounding: Due to the nature of random rounding, counts may vary slightly between different census products, such as the analytical document, highlight tables, and topic-based tabulations.

To obtain a copy of other maps released, refer to the following link: