This section marks the beginning of the comparative work in this report as it examines the population pyramids for the First Nations and Alberta populations and illustrates the significant differences between the population distribution of First Nations registered to bands in Alberta (3.3 per cent of the total Alberta population) and the overall population in Alberta.

Figure 4 shows the First Nations population pyramid based on data from the Indian Registry. The population pyramid has a triangular shape with a very large base–indicative of a younger population with a high birth rate. The base appears to be getting smaller. It may be the case for the 5 to 9 age group, however, caution should be used for the younger age group (0-4). Delays in reporting births and deaths to the Indian Registry may explain its smaller size.

Over half of the population (52 per cent) of the First Nations population in Alberta is under 25 years of age and less than five per cent of the population is over the age of 64. The 2006 Census indicates that the median age for First Nations in Alberta is 23 years.

The needs of a younger population are quite different from the needs of an older population especially for key social areas such as health and education. A younger population would have rapidly increasing enrollment in schools and daycares, higher demand for maternal child health programs and immunization.

Figure 5 represents the population pyramid for the Alberta population. It is indicative of an aging population. The “baby-boom” generation, born between 1946 and 1965, can be seen by the widening of the pyramid for the 40 to 55 age group.

Median Age:

First Nations in Alberta: 23.0
Albertans 35.5
Canadians 38.8

The 2006 Census indicates that the median age for Albertans was 35.5 years, which is slightly younger than the Canadian median age of 38.8 years5, but much older than the median age of Alberta’s First Nations population (23 years of age).

5Canadian Demographics at a Glance, catalogue no, 91-003-X, Statistics Canada