Rate of houses needing repair four times the national average

One in four Inuit live in damaged homes: StatsCan


Overcrowding in Inuit homes has eased since 1996, but the number of Inuit living in homes in need of repair has skyrocketed, according to new figures from Statistics Canada.

Data culled from the 2006 census shows that 31 per cent of Canada's Inuit live in overcrowded homes, with more than one person per room. That's down from 36 per cent in 1996, but still 10 times the rate for non-aboriginals.

Within Inuit Nunaat – Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region – crowding is even worse, with 38 per cent of Inuit living in crowded conditions, although that figure also dropped from 43 per cent in 1996.

"In Nunavik, more than 4,700 Inuit, 49 per cent of the total, lived in crowded dwellings, as did 39 per cent of those in Nunavut, 19 per cent in the Inuvialuit region and 13 per cent in Nunatsiavut," a StatsCan analysis stated.

The number of Inuit living in housing needing repair totalled 28 per cent across Canada, four times the rate for non-aboriginals.

Within Inuit Nunaat, 31 per cent of Inuit lived in damaged housing, a proportion that's grown 19 per cent in 1996. The percentage of Inuit living in damaged housing ranged from 46 per cent in Nunavik to a low of 26 per cent in Nunavut.

The study also tied the housing shortage to a high percentage of Inuit living in households with more than one family living there. ­Eighteen per cent of Inuit lived in households with more than one family, compared to 4 per cent of the non-Aboriginal population.

Census information also showed that the use of Inuktitut is strong in Nunavik and Nunavut, but weak in Nunatsiavut and among the Inuvialuit.

"Inuktitut is one of only three aboriginal languages in Canada spoken by a large enough population base that long-term survival is likely," the report stated. "While the language remains strong overall, knowledge and use are declining. In some communities and regions, there are few speakers."

Nearly all Nunavimmiut, 99 per cent, speak Inuttitut, and in Nunavut 91 per cent speak Inuktitut, although that figure is down from 94 per cent in 1996. Only 27 per cent of Nunatsiavummiut speak Inuttut now, and in the Inuvialuit, 20 per cent of Inuit could carry on a conversation in Inuvialuktun.

The figures show that across all of Canada's Inuit, 69 per cent speak the Inuit language well enough to converse, and that figure is consistent across all age groups.

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