Projections of the Indigenous populations and households in Canada

Detailed information for 2016-2041





Record number:


This statistical program develops projections of the Indigenous populations 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 - October 6, 2021


This statistical program produces population projections for various Indigenous populations (Registered or Treaty Indians, First Nations people, Métis, Inuit, etc.) by age, sex and selected regions: Canada, provinces, territories, CMAs, on or off reserve, and inside or outside Inuit Nunangat (Inuit regions). The program also produces projections of Indigenous and non-Indigenous households. These projections are based on assumptions and scenarios that take into account the most recent trends and developments related to components of population growth, particularly fertility, mortality, intragenerational ethnic mobility of Indigenous people (changes in the self-reporting of Indigenous identity during the life course) and registrations on the Indian Register.

Reference period: The reference period is 25 years from the start of the projections (2016).


  • Indigenous peoples (formerly 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.


This methodology type does not apply to 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 2016 Canadian Census of Population database, adjusted for census net undercoverage and incompletely enumerated Indian reserves and settlements. This database was linked to the Indian Register to add the registration category (6[1] and 6[2]) for the Registered Indians.

The parameters and assumptions underlying the population projections were developed from the 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2016 censuses, the 2011 National Household Survey (NHS), other survey data (in particular, the General Social Survey), population estimates data, administrative data (Vital Statistics, the Indian Register, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada [IRCC] files and the Longitudinal Administrative Database) and various file linkages (2006 and 2011 Canadian Census Health and Environment Cohorts [CanCHEC] and linkages between the 2006 and 2011 censuses, the 2011 and 2016 censuses and between the Indian Register and the 2016 Census).

Error detection

This methodology does not apply.


Imputation methods were used to develop the base population, in particular to assign characteristics to the population in the incompletely enumerated Indian reserves or settlements, and to assign a registration category to people who reported having a Registered Indian status in the Census, but who were not linked to the Indian Register. 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 Indigenous 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 allows the development of multiple assumptions for each component of growth (including differential behaviours) for Indigenous people, for non-Indigenous people, for both or for the relationship between the two. This projection exercise has three assumptions each for fertility, intragenerational ethnic mobility of Indigenous people, mortality and registration on the Indian Register related to Bill S-3, and one assumption each for internal migration, education, marital status, registration on the Indian Register (other than registrations related to Bill S-3) and reclassification of registration category over an individual's lifetime, intergenerational transmission of Registered or Treaty Indian status and registration category as well as Indigenous group, and other components (such as international migrations of non-Indigenous people). Three 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. 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 that 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.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

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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