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

First Nations population youngest in the Prairie provinces

First Nations people are younger than the non-Aboriginal population. The median age of the First Nations population was 25 years, 15 years below the median age of 40 years for non-Aboriginal people. (The median age is the point where exactly half the population is older, and half is younger.) This may be related to higher fertility rates and lower life expectancy among First Nations people.1

The Prairie provinces were home to young First Nations populations. The median age of First Nations people in Saskatchewan was 20 years, compared with 21 in Manitoba and 23 in Alberta. The median age in Ontario was 28 years, and in Quebec, 30 years.

In the Atlantic provinces, the youngest First Nations population lived in Prince Edward Island, where the median age was 23 years. In Nova Scotia, the median age was 25 years, and, in New Brunswick, 27 years. The oldest First Nations population was in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the median age was 33 years.

On-reserve population has a larger share of children

Census data showed that children represented a slightly higher share of the on-reserve population. About one-third (34%) of on-reserve First Nations people were aged 14 and under, compared with 31% of their counterparts living off reserve.

The difference was particularly pronounced in Quebec, where 34% of the on-reserve First Nations population was aged 14 and under, compared with 19% off reserve. However, the opposite was true in Saskatchewan, British Columbia and the Yukon Territory, where children accounted for a smaller share of the on-reserve population. The proportions on and off reserve were the same in Manitoba (37%) and the Northwest Territories (30%).

Table 19 Age distribution of First Nations populations living on and off reserve, Canada, 2006

First Nations children twice as likely to live with a lone parent

The vast majority of First Nations children lived with a member of their family; less than 1% lived with someone who was not related to them. Just over one-half (54%) of First Nations children lived with two parents, compared with 82% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Most of this difference was due to the greater likelihood of First Nations children living with a lone parent.

While most First Nations children lived with relatives, they were twice as likely to live in a lone-parent family. Just under one-third (31%) of First Nations children aged 14 and under lived with a lone mother, more than twice the proportion of 14% among non-Aboriginal children. Similarly, 6% of First Nations children lived with a lone father, compared with only 3% of their non-Aboriginal counterparts.

Just over one-quarter of on-reserve children (26%) lived with a lone mother. They were less likely to do so than their off-reserve counterparts, 35% of whom lived with a lone mother.

A considerable share also lived with relatives other than a parent. An estimated 3% of First Nations children lived with a grandparent (with no parent present) and 5% lived with another relative. These were not common living arrangements among non-Aboriginal children.

Table 20 Living arrangements of First Nations and non-Aboriginal children 14 years of age and under, Canada, 2006


  1. Statistics Canada. 2005. Projections of the Aboriginal Populations, Canada, Provinces and Territories. Statistics Canada, Catalogue no. 91-547-XIE.

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