Aboriginal Peoples of Ontario
This factsheet looks at the National Household Survey data on
the Aboriginal peoples of Canada released by Statistics
Ontario’s Aboriginal Population
- In the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS),
301,430 people self-identified as Aboriginal persons in
Ontario. This represented 2.4% of the province’s total
population, an increase from 2.0% in 2006.
- North American Indians accounted for a majority of the
aboriginal population, representing 66.7% in 2011
(slightly increased from 65.3% in 2006). The Métis
followed at 28.5% (down from 30.4% in 2006), and the
Inuit at 1.1% (up from 0.8% in 2006).
- Between 2006 and 2011, Ontario’s Aboriginal
population grew faster than the non-Aboriginal
population, increasing 24.3%, five times faster than the
4.8% rate of growth for the non-Aboriginal population.
Several factors may account for the faster growth, both
demographic and non-demographic (e.g. more
individuals choosing to identify themselves as an
- Of the three Aboriginal groups, the fastest gains in
population between 2006 and 2011 occurred among
the Inuit and the North American Indian people with
growth rates of 64.7% and 27%, respectively. The
Métis increased by 16.9%.
One in Six Aboriginal people Lived on Reserves
- 15.9% of all Aboriginal peoples in Ontario lived on
reserves in 2011, down from 19.6% in 2006.
Of those on reserves, nearly all (99%) were North
American Indian, virtually unchanged from 2006.
Within the North American Indian population 23.6%
lived on reserved in 2011, down from 29.7% in 2006.
The Aboriginal Population is Relatively Younger
- The Aboriginal population is younger than the non-
Aboriginal population. A third of the Aboriginal
population consists of children and teenagers aged 19
and under, compared with 23.8% for the non-
Aboriginal population. The share of seniors in the
Aboriginal people in 2011 increased to 6.7% from
5.2% in 2006, but was less than half the share of
seniors in the non-Aboriginal population.
The Aboriginal Population Across Canada
- In 2011, over half (53.9%) of Canada’s Aboriginal
population lived in three provinces: Ontario, British
Columbia and Alberta.
- Ontario, the most populous province, is also the
province with the largest Aboriginal population. One in
five of the country’s Aboriginal peoples (21.5%) lived in
Ontario in 2011.
- BC had the second-largest Aboriginal population
(16.6% of Canada), followed by Alberta (15.8%).
Aboriginal Population Growth Fastest East of Manitoba
- Most Aboriginal people lived in Ontario and the West,
but the fastest increase in the last five years occurred
east of Manitoba.
- Between 2006 and 2011, the number of people
identifying themselves as Aboriginal increased 52.7% in
Newfoundland and Labrador, 40% in Nova Scotia,
30.9% in Quebec, 28.9% in PEI, 28.1% in New
Brunswick, and 24.3% in Ontario.
- Among regions with a high concentration of Aboriginal
people in the population (above 15%, the fastest
increases were in Manitoba (11.7%) and the
The Territories and Prairie Provinces have the Highest Concentration of Aboriginal Population
- The Territories and in the Prairies remain the regions
with highest concentrations of Aboriginal population.
- Nunavut had the highest proportion of Aboriginal people
in its population (86%) in 2011, followed by the
Northwest Territories (52%) and the Yukon (23%).
- Among the provinces, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
have the largest proportion of Aboriginal people at 17%
and 16%, respectively.
- All provinces east of Manitoba had less than 4% of
Aboriginal people in their populations, with the exception
of Newfoundland and Labrador whose Aboriginal people
accounted for 7% of the total population.
- In Ontario, Aboriginal people accounted for 2.4% of the
total population in 2011, up from 2.0% in 2006.
- 52% of Aboriginal people in Ontario lived in the Census
Metropolitan Areas (CMAs). Brantford, Greater
Sudbury, and Thunder Bay CMAs had the highest share
of Aboriginal people in the total population, at 8.3%,
8.5% and 10.0% respectively.
Contact: Huan Nguyen (416) 325-0816
Office of Economic Policy
Labour and Demographic Analysis Branch