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The education and employment experiences of First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey

Monday, November 25, 2013

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Previous release

New data from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey reveal that 72% of First Nations people living off reserve, 42% of Inuit and 77% of Métis aged 18 to 44 had a high school diploma or equivalent in 2012. Of these high school graduates, 14% of off-reserve First Nations people, 15% of Inuit, and 9% of Métis had left school at least once before later returning to obtain a high school diploma.

This first release of data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey provides insights into factors associated with staying in or dropping out of school, how educational background can affect work experiences, and what plans for further schooling might be among First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit and Métis aged 18 to 44.

A detailed analysis is available in the article “The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey.”

A brief overview of the findings of the above article is presented on video.

High school completion

The 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey showed that 72% of First Nations people living off reserve, 42% of Inuit and 77% of Métis aged 18 to 44 had a high school diploma or equivalent. This group is considered to be high school completers. These figures are similar to those from the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey. In comparison, the 2011 National Household Survey revealed that 89% of the non-Aboriginal population had at least a high school diploma.

For many, dropping out of school did not necessarily mean they were done with their studies. Among completers, 14% of off-reserve First Nations people, 15% of Inuit, and 9% of Métis had left school at least once, before returning to obtain a high school diploma. The main reason cited for returning was that they “realized the value of an education / wanted a diploma.”

Characteristics associated with completing high school

There were a number of personal, family, and school-level characteristics associated with completing high school among First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit and Métis. For example, compared with those who did not finish high school (“leavers”), a higher percentage of completers reported having good grades and participating in activities outside of school hours during their last year in school.

Completers were also more likely than leavers to read books. Just over half (51%) of off-reserve First Nations completers read books four or more times a week during their last year in school, compared with 43% of leavers. Among Inuit, the percentages were 43% versus 24%, while for Métis, they were 47% versus 36%.

Higher percentages of completers reported having many close friends who valued an education. For instance, 77% of off-reserve First Nations completers, 69% of Inuit completers and 81% of Métis completers had many close friends who thought completing high school was very important. The comparable percentages were 51% for off-reserve First Nations leavers, 48% for Inuit leavers, and 50% for Métis leavers.

Completers were also more likely than leavers to report feeling safe and happy at school, and to have said they received support from school staff during their last year in school.

In terms of family characteristics, higher percentages of completers had a mother and/or father with at least a high school education. On the other hand, leavers were more likely to have one or more siblings who had dropped out of school. For example, among off-reserve First Nations people, 68% of leavers versus 43% of completers had at least one sibling who did not finish high school. The comparable numbers for Inuit were 81% versus 54%, and 57% versus 32% for Métis.

These findings are consistent with what is known about school achievement among the general population.

Among men who did not complete high school, reasons given for dropping out included a desire to work, money problems, school problems, or lack of interest. Pregnancy or childcare responsibilities were reported by one-quarter of First Nations women living off reserve and Métis women, and by 38% of Inuit women who did not complete high school.

Education after high school

The 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey also showed that 43% of off-reserve First Nations people, 26% of Inuit, and 47% of Métis aged 18 to 44 had postsecondary credentials, that is, a certificate, diploma or degree above the high school level. These figures are comparable to those from the 2006 Aboriginal Peoples Survey. The corresponding figure for the non-Aboriginal population in 2011 was 64%, according to the National Household Survey.

Generally, those who had a high school diploma were more likely to have completed postsecondary schooling. Nonetheless, 16% of off-reserve First Nations leavers, 12% of Inuit leavers, and 16% of Métis leavers had gone on to obtain a postsecondary certificate, diploma or degree.

Many students moved to complete their postsecondary education. About 40% of off-reserve First Nations people, 50% of Inuit, and 42% of Métis with postsecondary credentials had relocated to pursue their education. Those who had obtained a university degree were the most likely to have done so.

Work and earnings

Adults aged 18 to 44 who had finished high school were more likely to be employed than those who did not have a diploma. Among off-reserve First Nations people, the percentages employed were 72% for completers versus 47% for leavers, while they were 71% versus 44% among Inuit, and 80% versus 61% among Métis.

While men in the general population usually have higher rates of employment than women, this was not the case among First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit and Métis who had completed high school. For all three groups, female completers were as likely to be employed as their male counterparts.

In terms of earnings, among First Nations people living off reserve and Métis, the median employment income ranges for completers were $10,000 higher than for leavers. Among Inuit, the difference in median employment income between completers and leavers was $20,000.

Plans for further schooling

About 6 in 10 First Nations people living off reserve (65%), Métis (59%) and Inuit (55%) reported that they would go back to school to take further training, and 18- to 24-year-olds were more likely than 25- to 44-year-olds to plan further studies.

Note to readers

This is the first release of data from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS), which is a national survey of First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit aged 6 years and over. The 2012 APS represents the fourth cycle of the survey and focuses on issues of education, employment and health. The survey also collected information on language, income, housing and mobility.

The article The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey describes education pathways, education experiences and current employment for high school completers and leavers aged 18 to 44. It includes analyses of personal, family and school-related experiences during the last year of school, postsecondary education profiles and selected characteristics of workers, the unemployed and those not in the labour force. As well, the article addresses the subject of barriers to further education or training. Data are presented separately for the First Nations off reserve, Inuit and Métis populations aged 18 to 44 who were not attending high school at the time of data collection.

Other products will be released from the 2012 APS. They include additional data tables and microdata files, as well as analytical papers on Inuit health, Métis employment, and education experiences of off-reserve First Nations children and youth.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number survey number3250.

The article “The Education and Employment Experiences of First Nations People Living Off Reserve, Inuit, and Métis: Selected Findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey“is now available in the publication Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012 (Catalogue number89-653-X). From the Browse by key resource module of our website, choose Publications.

The “Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012: Concepts and Methods Guide” will soon be available in the publication Aboriginal Peoples Survey, 2012 (Catalogue number89-653-X). This guide will assist data users by providing relevant information on survey content and concepts, sampling design, collection methods, data processing, weighting, data quality and product availability.

A series of supporting data tables is available for the article being released today. These tables provide data at the national level for First Nations people living off reserve, Inuit and Métis aged 18 to 44 for all themes covered in this analysis. Selected tables are also available for specific regions of Canada.

To order data, for more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; [email protected]), the Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division ([email protected]), or Media Relations (613-951-4636; [email protected]).

NT5

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