Photo courtesy of Statistics Canada

More than 16 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population is Aboriginal, making it the youngest and fastest growing demographic in the Canadian population.

The latest census numbers were released today by Statistics Canada. Over the last 10 years, the Aboriginal population has grown by 42.5 per cent nationwide, which is more than four times the growth rate of the non-Aboriginal population. The First Nations increase was 39 per cent, while the Metis population increased by more than 51 per cent.

In Saskatchewan, there are more than 176,000 Aboriginal people, which includes 114,570 First Nations people and 57,875 Metis people, representing 16.3 per cent of the population.

In the cities, Prince Albert had the highest percentage of Aboriginal residents at 39.7 per cent, followed by North Battleford at 26.4 per cent. Saskatoon’s Aboriginal population is 10.9 per cent, while Regina’s rate was 9.3 per cent.

Of all the major cities surveyed, Regina had the slowest increase over the last 10 years at 26 per cent, but even at that rate, it was still higher than the non-Aboriginal population. Over the same period, Saskatoon’s Aboriginal population increased by more than 45 per cent.

The census also showed the average age of the Aboriginal population is 32, 10 years younger than the non-Aboriginal population.

Last year, there were 1,673,785 Aboriginal people in Canada, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population. This is up from 2.8 per cent 10 years ago.

According to population projections, the number of Aboriginal people will continue to grow quickly. In the next two decades, the Aboriginal population is likely to exceed 2.5 million.