Projections of the Aboriginal Population and Households in Canada

Detailed information for 2011-2036





Record number:


This statistical program develops projections of the Aboriginal population and households for Canada, the provinces and territories, census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and other selected regions. These projections are based on various assumptions and scenarios about components¿demographic or otherwise¿of growth.

Data release - September 17, 2015


This statistical program produces population projections according to registered Indian status and Aboriginal identity by age, sex and selected regions: Canada, provinces, territories, CMAs, on or off reserve, and Inuit Nunangat (Inuit regions). The program also produces projections of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal households. The projections of the Aboriginal population and households are based on various assumptions and scenarios on the fertility, mortality, migrations, ethnic mobility of Aboriginal people (inter- and intragenerational) and headship rates of the projected groups, among others.

Reference period: The reference period is 25 years from the start of the projections (2011).


  • Aboriginal peoples
  • Population and demography
  • Population characteristics
  • Population estimates and projections

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population for these projections is the complete Canadian population.

Instrument design

This methodology does not apply.


No sampling is done for this statistical program.

Data sources

Data are collected from other Statistics Canada surveys and/or other sources.

The base population for the projections is the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS) database, adjusted for net undercoverage in the census and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves. The database was linked to the Indian Register to add the registration category of Registered Indians, and it was linked to administrative data from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to add the admission category of immigrants who arrived in 1980 or later.

The parameters and assumptions underlying the population projections were developed from the 2001 and 2006 censuses (20% samples), the 2011 NHS, other survey data (in particular, the General Social Survey), population estimates data, administrative data (Vital Statistics, the Indian Register, CIC files and the Longitudinal Administrative Database) and file linkages (1991 Census mortality follow-up database and linkages between the 2001 and 2006 Censuses and between the 2006 Census and the 2011 NHS).

Error detection

Not applicable


Imputation methods were used to develop the base population, in particular to assign characteristics to the population in the incompletely enumerated reserves, a registration category in the Indian Register to people who reported having a registered Indian status in the NHS, but who were not linked to the Indian Register, and an admission category to persons who reported in the NHS being admitted as immigrants in 1980 or later, but who could not be linked to the CIC data. Imputation methods are also sometimes used in the projection process to assign certain attributes to records.


The projections were generated with Demosim, a microsimulation population projection model. Programmed with Mogden, Demosim projects one by one each person in the base population and each person added during the simulation through births and immigration. It does this by assigning each person, in continuous time, probabilities of experiencing various events, from which are derived "waiting times" between a given moment and the occurrence of the events. Events modelled by Demosim include, among others: having children, changing one's place of residence, changing one's self-reported Aboriginal identity or registering on the Indian Register, dying, changing one's level of education, and leaving the country. Some characteristics are assigned annually to each person simulated (e.g., head-of-household status).

Demosim can also develop multiple assumptions for each component of growth (including differential behaviours) for Aboriginal people, for non-Aboriginal people, for both or for the relationship between the two. This projection exercise is based on three fertility assumptions, two assumptions on the intragenerational ethnic mobility of Aboriginal people, two internal migration assumptions, and one assumption each on mortality, education, marital status, registration on the Indian Register and reclassification of registration category, intergenerational transmission of registered Indian status and registration category as well as Aboriginal group, and other components (such as international migrations of non-Aboriginal people). Five combinations of assumptions were then selected to create scenarios of changes in the population and number of households that are plausible in light of past trends and relevant from a policy development standpoint.

Quality evaluation

Various mechanisms are used to ensure the quality of these population projections. First, at the beginning of each cycle, the data sources and methods used to produce the projections are reviewed in depth; an independent scientific committee is consulted in this regard. The choice of assumptions and scenarios is also examined through consultations with federal departments or the Advisory Committee on Demographic Statistics and Studies. Lastly, the projection results undergo detailed validation, including comparative analyses of the estimated and projected transitions and of past and projected trends for the populations of interest, as well as a comparison with other series of population projections.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects which could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

The model may be subject to revisions to be carried out on a cost-recovery basis.

Data accuracy

The accuracy of any projection depends on the quality of the data relating to the base population and the components of population growth, and on how the assumptions correspond to future trends. Projections are not predictions; instead, they represent an effort to establish plausible scenarios based on assumptions relating to the components¿demographic or otherwise¿of growth, which are themselves subject to uncertainty. As a result, it cannot be claimed that the values to be observed in the coming years will always remain within the range suggested by the projection scenarios.


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