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2006 Census: Portrait of the Canadian Population in 2006: Subprovincial population dynamics

Small towns and communities in the territories

This photograph shows two people admiring Whitehorse from the top of a hill overlooking the city.Yukon Territory, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut together encompass more than a third of Canada's territory, which makes them larger in area than most countries, including Mexico and India. Those vast spaces remain sparsely populated, however. In 2006, nearly 97% of the territories' 101,310 residents occupied a mere 0.5% of their huge land mass.

Nearly half (47%) of the territories' population was living in one of the three capital cities in 2006. About 75% of Yukon Territory's population was in Whitehorse, 45% of the Northwest Territories' population was in Yellowknife, and 21% of Nunavut's population was in Iqaluit. Those proportions are up, as the three capital cities grew faster (an average of 10.7%) than the rest of the territories (+7.9%).

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.

This photograph shows a road running along a river with a mountain range in the background.The populations of a number of other towns, villages and hamlets in the territories are growing rapidly. Examples include Inuvik and Behchokò in the Mackenzie River Basin (Northwest Territories) and Igloolik, on the shore of the Arctic islands (Nunavut). Their populations grew by about 20% between the 2001 and 2006 censuses, nearly four times as fast as Canada's total population.

Almost all of the territorial communities with a population of more than 1,000 saw an increase in residents since 2001. The high fertility of the large Aboriginal population is the main growth factor.

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