Aboriginal Peoples Technical Report, Census of Population, 2016
1. Concepts and variables

There are various ways to define the Aboriginal population using data from the 2016 Census of Population, depending on the data user’s focus and requirements. The following variables, which are used to define the Aboriginal population, are available from the survey and are defined in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-301-X:

The population estimates for Canada from the 2016 Census using the different definitions are shown below.

Table 1
Estimates for Aboriginal identity, Aboriginal group, Registered or Treaty Indian status, Membership in a First Nation or Indian band and Aboriginal ancestry, 2016 Census
Table summary
This table displays the results of Estimates for Aboriginal identity. The information is grouped by Concept (appearing as row headers), 2016 Census of Population estimate (appearing as column headers).
Concept 2016 Census of Population estimateTable 1 Note 1
Aboriginal identityTable 1 Note 2 1,673,785
Aboriginal group 1,651,115
Registered or Treaty Indian status 820,115
Membership in a First Nation or Indian band 792,140
Aboriginal ancestryTable 1 Note 3 2,130,520

Specific legally defined geographic regions are often important to users of Aboriginal data. The following variables—as defined in the Dictionary, Census of Population, 2016, Catalogue no. 98-301-X—are available from the survey:

The data collected in the Census of Population are used by governments, including Aboriginal governments and organizations, to develop programs and services for Aboriginal peoples.

It is possible to derive other definitions of the Aboriginal population by using different combinations of the census questions. For example, in the 2016 Census long-form (2A-L) questionnaire, the information from Question 18 on Aboriginal groups and Question 20 on Registered or Treaty Indian status can be used to derive the First Nations (North American Indian) identity population with Registered or Treaty Indian status.

Other examples include:

Other combinations of Aboriginal variables that can correspond to users’ data needs and purposes are also possible.

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