Demographics of Northwest Territories

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The Northwest Territories is a territory of Canada. It has an area of 1,171,918 square kilometres and a population of 41,464 as of July 1, 2006.

Population of Northwest Territories since 1871[edit]

Year Population five-year
% change
ten-year
% change
Rank among provinces
and territories
1871 48,000 n/a n/a 6
1881 56,446 n/a 17.6 7
1891 98,967 n/a 75.3 7
1901 20,129* n/a -79.7 11
1911 6,507** n/a -67.7 11
1921 8,143 n/a 25.1 10
1931 9,316 n/a 14.4 10
1941 12,028 n/a 29.1 10
1951 16,004 n/a 33.1 11
1956 19,313 20.7 n/a 11
1961 22,998 19.1 43.7 11
1966 28,738 25.0 48.8 11
1971 34,805 21.1 51.3 11
1976 42,610 22.4 48.3 11
1981 45,740 7.3 31.4 11
1986 52,235 14.2 22.6 11
1991 57,649 10.3 26.0 11
1996 64,402 11.7 23.2 11
2001 37,360*** -42.0 -35.2 11
2006 41,464 11.0 -35.6 11
2011 41,462 0.0 10.9 11

*Note: Yukon Territory was ceded from Northwest Territories in 1898.

**Note: Alberta and Saskatchewan were created from parts of Northwest Territories in 1905.

***Note: Data through 1996 includes Nunavut. 2001 data does not include Nunavut.

Source: Statistics Canada [1][2][3]

Ten largest population centres[edit]

Ten largest municipalities by population
Municipality 2011 2006 2001 1996
Yellowknife 19,234 18,700 16,541 17,275
Hay River 3,606 3,648 3,510 3,611
Inuvik 3,463 3,484 2,894 3,296
Fort Smith 2,093 2,364 2,185 2,441
Behchoko 1,926 1,894 1,552 1,662
Fort Simpson 1,238 1,216 1,163 1,257
Tuktoyaktuk 854 870 930 943
Fort McPherson 792 776 761 878
Fort Providence 734 727 753 748
Norman Wells 727 761 666 798

Languages[edit]

French was made an official language in 1877 by the appointed government, after lengthy and bitter debate resulting from a speech from the throne in 1888 by Lt. Governor Joseph Royal. The members voted on more than one occasion to nullify and make English the only language used in the assembly. After some conflict with Ottawa and a decisive vote on January 19, 1892, the issue was put to rest as an English-only territory.

In the early 1980s, the government of Northwest Territories was again under pressure by the federal government to reintroduce French as an official language. Some native members walked out of the assembly, protesting that they would not be permitted to speak their own language. The executive council appointed a special committee of MLAs to study the matter. They decided that if French was to be an official language, then so must the other languages in the territories.

The Northwest Territories's Official Languages Act recognizes the following eleven official languages, which is more than any other political division in Canada:[4]

NWT residents have a right to use any of the above languages in a territorial court and in debates and proceedings of the legislature. However, laws are legally binding only in their French and English versions, and the government only publishes laws and other documents in the territory's other official languages when the legislature asks it to. Furthermore, access to services in any language is limited to institutions and circumstances where there is significant demand for that language or where it is reasonable to expect it given the nature of the services requested. In reality, this means that English language services are universally available and there is no guarantee that other languages, including French, will be used by any particular government service except for the courts.

The 2006 Canadian census showed a population of 41,464.
Of the 40,680 singular responses to the census question concerning 'mother tongue' the most commonly reported languages were:

1. English 31,545 77.54%
2. Athapaskan languages 4,710 11.58%
Dogrib 1,950 4.79%
South Slavey 1,285 3.16%
North Slavey 835 2.05%
Chipewyan 390 0.96%
Gwich'in 190 0.47%
Dene 50 0.12%
3. French 975 2.40%
4. Inuktitut 695 1.71%
5. Malayo-Polynesian languages 530 1.30%
Tagalog 505 1.24%
6. Vietnamese 305 0.75%
7. Chinese languages 260 0.64%
Cantonese 120 0.29%
8. Algonquian languages 250 0.61%
Cree 190 0.47%
Ojibway 35 0.09%
9. German 190 0.47%
10= Arabic 105 0.26%
10= Creole 105 0.26%
12. Dutch 95 0.23%
13. Spanish 90 0.22%
14. Niger-Congo languages 80 0.20%
Bantu languages 55 0.14%
15. Yugoslavian languages 60 0.15%
16= Innuinaqtun 55 0.14%
16= Italian 55 0.14%

There were also about 40 single-language responses for Ukrainian; 35 for the Scandinavian languages, Slovak and Urdu; and 30 for Hungarian, the Iranian languages and Polish. In addition, there were also 320 responses of both English and a 'non-official language'; 15 of both French and a 'non-official language; 45 of both English and French, and about 400 people who either did not respond to the question, or reported multiple non-official languages, or else gave some other unenumerated response. The Northwest Territories' official languages are shown in bold. Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.)[5]

Migration[edit]

Immigration[edit]

The 2006 Canadian census counted a total of 2,815 immigrants living in the Northwest Territories.
The most commonly reported origins for these immigrants were: [6]

1. Philippines 555
2. United Kingdom 345
3. Vietnam 245
4. United States 235
5. Germany 130
6= China 100
6= Ghana 100
8= Hong Kong 65
8= Netherlands 65
10= former Yugoslavia 45
10= Italy 45
12= Australia 40
12= France 40
12= South Africa 40

There were also about thirty-five immigrants from Pakistan; and about thirty each from India, Lebanon, Nigeria and Slovakia.

Internal migration[edit]

A total of 12,100 people moved to the Northwest Territories from other parts of Canada between 1996 and 2006 while 15,955 people moved in the opposite direction. These movements resulted in a net influx of 825 from Newfoundland and Labrador, 295 from Nunavut, 235 from Quebec and 195 from Nova Scotia; and a net outmigration of 3,955 to Alberta, 705 to British Columbia, 260 to Manitoba, 245 to Ontario and 230 to the Yukon. (All inter-provincial movements and official minority movements of more than 100 persons are given.)[7][8]

Visible minorities and Aboriginals[edit]

Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2006 Census)
Population group Population  % of total population
White 18,160 44.2%
Visible minority group
Source:[9]
South Asian 210 0.5%
Chinese 315 0.8%
Black 375 0.9%
Filipino 695 1.7%
Latin American 85 0.2%
Arab 85 0.2%
Southeast Asian 355 0.9%
West Asian 40 0.1%
Korean 15 0%
Japanese 15 0%
Visible minority, n.i.e. 30 0.1%
Multiple visible minority 40 0.1%
Total visible minority population 2,265 5.5%
Aboriginal group
Source:[10]
First Nations 12,640 30.8%
Métis 3,585 8.7%
Inuit 4,165 10.1%
Aboriginal, n.i.e. 145 0.4%
Multiple Aboriginal identity 105 0.3%
Total Aboriginal population 20,635 50.3%
Total population 41,060 100%

See also[edit]

NT
Canadian Provinces and Territories
Demographics of Canada's provinces and territories

References[edit]