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The population living in the three territories surpassed 100,000 for the first time. With a population of 41,464 in the 2006 Census, the Northwest Territories is the most populous of the three. Yukon Territory and Nunavut were very close in population size, with 30,372 and 29,474 respectively.
The three territories share a number of similar demographic characteristics. For example, each have sizable Aboriginal populations, a fertility rate that is usually much higher than the provincial rates (except recently for Yukon Territory), and experience relatively lower levels of international immigration compared with other areas in Canada. Natural increase is often the main factor contributing to population growth.
Because of an improvement in its migration exchanges with the provinces, Yukon Territory's population growth was positive (+5.9%) in the 2001 to 2006 period.
For the same reason, the Northwest Territories experienced an increase in its growth rate (+11.0%) during the last intercensal period.
Statistics Canada makes every effort to enumerate Canadians accurately in the census. Some regions may present greater challenges than others. The statistics for the Northwest Territories must be used with caution, as its net undercoverage in the 2001 Census (8.11%) was higher than the national average (2.99%). Because of the improved coverage of the Northwest Territories in 2006, population growth for the 2001 to 2006 period is probably overstated.
In Nunavut, growth remained strong between 2001 and 2006 (+10.2%), as it has been for a number of intercensal periods. Unlike the other two territories, Nunavut saw an upswing in its natural increase in the 2001 to 2006 period, as its fertility rate was twice the national average (an average of 3.1 versus 1.5 children per woman since 2001). Immigration and migration exchanges with the provinces had little effect on the territory's growth rate.