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Urban aboriginals doing better, Statcan reports.

OTTAWA -- Aboriginal people living in Canada's largest metropolitan centres were better off in 2001 than they were two decades earlier, according to a new report, Aboriginal Conditions in Census Metropolitan Areas, 1981 to 2001.

The report examines 11 metropolitan centres that had a population of at least 7,000 Aboriginal people in 2001, or whose Aboriginal population accounted for at least 5% of the total population. They are Montreal, Ottawa-Hull (now known as Ottawa-Gatineau), Toronto, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Among the "cautious good news" of the report is that the proportion of Aboriginal youth in the 11 centres who had higher levels of schooling increased during the 20-year period. School attendance among Aboriginal youth aged 15 to 24 rose substantially, while the proportion of young adults aged 25 to 34 who had finished postsecondary education rose as well. Gains were much more dramatic for women than men. Proportions were up in all urban centres, except for Aboriginal men in Montreal, Regina and Edmonton.

In addition, employment rates in these urban centres for Aboriginal adults aged 25 to 44 who had completed their university degrees were on par with their non-Aboriginal counterparts in 2001. The only exceptions were those in Regina and Saskatoon.

Overall employment rates improved for Aboriginal people in most of the urban areas, except in the primary labour force group aged 25 to 54 in Regina.

However, the gap in employment rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people did not change much over the 20-year period, except in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Sudbury, where gaps closed substantially.

Meanwhile, the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal median income from employment sources also closed in most of the urban centres. While the number of Aboriginal people making $40,000 or more rose nearly four-fold, there was even large growth among those employed and earning less than $15,000.

Aboriginal population more than doubled in most cities: American Indian, Metis or Inuit. Almost 3 out of every of 10 of these people (28%) lived in an urban centre.

The largest urban concentration of aboriginal was, Winnipeg; 56,000, 3.5 times the total 20 years earlier. Edmonton, had nearly 41,000.

The most dramatic increase occurred in Saskatoon, where the Aboriginal population increased almost five-fold from about 4,200 to more than 20,000.

Natural increase (births minus deaths) was a major contributor to the growth in Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Edmonton.
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Publication:Community Action
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Aug 22, 2005
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