Geologically, Nunavut lies on the Canadian Shield, with very thin soil lying on top of the bedrock, and many bare outcrops. The multitude of rivers and lakes in the entire region is caused by the watersheds of the area being so young and in a state of sorting themselves out with the added effect of post-glacial rebound. Virtually all of Nunavut's rivers drain into the Hudson Bay or the Arctic Ocean.
Arctic tundra (Köppen climate classificationET) covers virtually all of Nunavut, the only exceptions being the area roughly between the Four Corners and Ennadai and Nueltin Lakes, where a marginal taiga forest exists, and small zones of permanent ice caps, found on some of the larger Arctic Islands (especially Baffin, Devon and Ellesmere) at sites having a relatively high elevation. Nunavut's vegetation is partially composed of rare berries, lichens, Arctic Willows, moss, tough grass, and small willow shrubs.
As of 2012[update], Nunavut has a population of approximately 34,000. In 2006 around 84% of the population were native peoples, primarily Inuit. Nunavut's small and sparse population makes it unlikely the territory will be granted provincial status in the foreseeable future, although this may change if the Yukon, which is only marginally more populous, becomes a province.