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Study: Housing, income and residential dissimilarity among Indigenous people in Canadian cities
The most recent census counted 1.67 million Indigenous people in Canada in 2016, or 4.9% of the total population. About half (44%) of the Indigenous population—representing 731,480 First Nations people, Métis and Inuit—lived in one of 49 urban areas large enough to be divided into neighbourhoods (or census tracts).
A new study, “Results from the 2016 Census: Housing, income and residential dissimilarity among Indigenous people in Canadian cities,” uses data from the 2016 Census of Population to examine the living conditions of Indigenous people residing in private households in these urban areas.
The study finds that Indigenous people living in major urban areas encounter different living conditions than those of the non-Indigenous population.
Approximately half of Indigenous people living in urban areas rent their dwelling
Among the Indigenous people living in one of the 49 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) or census agglomerations large enough to be divided into census tracts in 2016, 51% identified as First Nations, 45% as Métis and 1% as Inuit.
Winnipeg had the largest number of Indigenous people living within a CMA, with almost 100,000 people reporting an Indigenous identity.
Among Indigenous people living in private households in these urban areas, about half lived in rented dwellings, compared with more than one-quarter of the non-Indigenous population. Among the 355,400 Indigenous people who lived in a rented dwelling in 2016, one in five lived in subsidized housing.
Two key indicators of housing conditions are housing in need of major repairs and household crowding. Household crowding is defined as people living in a dwelling with more than one person per room.
Just over 1 in 10 Indigenous people living in these urban areas (11%) were in housing that needed major repairs in 2016. Indigenous people who lived in a rented dwelling were almost twice as likely to be in housing that needed major repairs (14%) compared with those who lived in a dwelling owned by a member of the household (8%).
The proportion of Indigenous people living in a crowded dwelling in urban areas was lower than that of Indigenous people living outside cities. In 2016, 4% of Indigenous urban residents lived in a crowded dwelling, a rate that was comparable to that of the non-Indigenous population.
From 2006 to 2016, the share of Indigenous people living in a crowded dwelling or in housing that needed major repairs declined in urban areas. For example, the share of First Nations people who lived in housing in need of major repairs fell from 16% to 12%, while the rate among Métis edged down from 11% to 10%.
Indigenous population becoming more evenly distributed across neighbourhoods in urban areas
The study found that the Indigenous population became more evenly distributed across neighbourhoods over the past two decades. However, this result could be due partly to more people identifying as Indigenous.
With that said, it is also important to examine the areas with the highest proportions of Indigenous people. In 2016, the census enumerated 303 neighbourhoods (census tracts) in urban areas with an Indigenous population of 10% or more (over twice the proportion of Indigenous people in the total population).
In these neighbourhoods, the housing conditions of Indigenous people were generally worse than those of Indigenous people who were living in other neighbourhoods. Specifically, within neighbourhoods where at least 10% of the population had an Indigenous identity, 14% of Indigenous people lived in a dwelling that was in need of major repairs, while 7% lived in a crowded dwelling.
These results reflect the more difficult income situation of Indigenous people living in these neighbourhoods. About one-third of the Indigenous population living in a neighbourhood where at least 10% of the population had an Indigenous identity lived in a low-income household, compared with about one-fifth of Indigenous people living in other neighbourhoods.
Note to readers
Data in this study are from the 2016 Census of Population, as well as the 1996 and 2006 censuses. This paper was limited to people in private households living in a census metropolitan area (CMA) or census agglomeration (CA) large enough to be divided into census tracts. Specifically, this included 49 CMAs and CAs. It also excluded people living on a reserve or Indian settlement within the boundaries of a CMA or CA.
The study “Results from the 2016 Census: Housing, income and residential dissimilarity among Indigenous people in Canadian cities” is now available in Insights on Canadian Society (75-006-X).
For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Thomas Anderson (613-404-2591; firstname.lastname@example.org).
For more information on Insights on Canadian Society, contact Martin Turcotte (613-854-3304; email@example.com).
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