Nunavut is Canada’s largest and most northerly territory. It comprises part of the mainland and a huge scattering of islands. This region is the 5th largest inter-country land area in the world.
Nunavut is very sparsely populated with a population of just 33,000 and a population density of 0.02 people per square kilometer (0.052 per square mile). This was, however, an 8.3% increase on the 2006 census; a much higher increase than the average increase across Canada. The growth rate has slowed down more recently with an increase from 2013 to 2014 of 0.8% bringing the total number of people today to 36,408.
Cities in Nunavut
Most people who inhabit Nunavut today are residents of the territory’s capital city of Iqaluit. Iqaluit is home to around 7000 people. This town is the center of the territory but is still relatively small with a very different feel to the rest of Canada. There is a cosmopolitan feel to the area and there is a wonderful and unique cultural and artistic life in Iqaluit. Cost of living is high and you will also not find alcohol for sale – permits are required to fly it in for personal consumption. Most perishable goods are also flown in from the mainland and many items are subject to a mark-up in cost because of this.
Despite the larger towns being more cosmopolitan, the whole territory is largely inhabited with people with an Inuit ethnic background. 83.6% of inhabitants confirmed this in the most recent census. Only 15% of people describe themselves as non-aboriginal. Not surprisingly, 70% of the residents of Nunavut report their mother tongue as Inuktitut. The next most common language is English with around 27% reporting it as their mother tongue. Despite French being an official language, only 1.27% of residents report it as their mother tongue. Strangely, Inuktitut is not considered an official language.
Nunavut has the youngest median age in Canada of 24.7 years; this is mainly due to the high fertility rates and loss of the older population. Furthermore, Nunavut has the lowest average age of mothers in Canada, having their first child at a rate 8 times the national average for teenage pregnancies. The most prolific religion in the territory is the Anglican Church of Canada with 58% of the population reporting it as their faith, with Roman Catholic at 28%.
Nunavut Population Growth
Although Nunavut boasts a youthful population it does have a high unemployment rate – 13.5% in 2013 – but set to reduce to 11.4% in 2014. Sadly, many native Inuits are leaving the area for better economic prospects elsewhere. The main industries in the territory are resources and fishery, following government employment. Also contributing to the local economy are exports, tourism and Inuit art. Nunavut is increasing its economy and reported a GDP of $1.75 billion in 2010 which was an increase of 11.4% on the previous year. Experts predict a rise of 9.2% in future years.
- Nunavut means "our land" in Inuktitut.
- Nunavut is one of the least densely populated areas in the world.
- Nunavut is mostly inhabited and controlled by the Inuit.
- Nunavut has no paved roads that connect communities together as it is sparsely populated and most long-distance travel is done by air.
- Nunavut is the largest and least populated territory of Canada.