Did you know?
The current Indigenous population in Surrey has exceeded that of Vancouver and will be nearly double the Vancouver Indigenous population by 2036!
Currently in Surrey there are 1665 Indigenous households experiencing core housing needs; and renters are 6X more likely to face core housing needs than owners.
A Profile Summary of the Indigenous Population in Surrey
Back in 2015, there was no profile of Indigenous people in Surrey. No one knew how many Indigenous people lived in Surrey, and there wasn’t any basic demographic information to support funding and service decisions. So, one of the first steps we took was to develop a profile of Indigenous people living in the city using data from the 2011 Census. What we found confirmed the suspicions of our members: Surrey was quickly becoming the largest urban Indigenous population in the province.
Recently, we updated the profile to include statistics from the 2016 Census. Here are some key takeaways from the updated profile:
- The population is large.
- The population is diverse.
- The population is young.
- Some people are doing relatively well.
- Some people need more support.
The population is large
In 2016, 13,460 Indigenous people were living in Surrey. That same year, the Indigenous population in Vancouver and Surrey were almost equal . The significant difference is that between 2011 and 2016, the average annual growth rate in Surrey has been 4.9%, whereas it has only been 1.2 % in Vancouver.
Based on this growth rate, we are confident that Surrey is now the largest Indigenous community in BC and will be twice as large as Vancouver within the next 25 years.
The population is diverse
55% of the Indigenous population in Surrey is First Nations. That 55% comes from all over BC and Canada, representing many different Nations, cultures, and languages.
Plus, just over 45% of the Indigenous population are Métis. By far, the Métis are the largest cultural group represented in these numbers. And yet, the Métis are often battling for recognition and space.
Another factor when considering the diversity of Indigenous experiences in Surrey is to recognize that Indigenous people live in neighbourhoods throughout Surrey. North Surrey is home to many Indigenous Surrey residents…but so is Newton , Cloverdale, and South Surrey.
The population is young
The median age of the Indigenous population in Surrey is 28 years old. This is different than in Vancouver, where the median age of Indigenous peoples is 33. In Surrey’s total population, the median age is 38 years old, and in Vancouver, it is 39 years old.
Almost half (45%) of the population is younger than 24 years old. There are 3,655 Indigenous children living in Surrey (0 – 14 years). Nearly 30% are in the 0-14 age group.
Some people are doing relatively well
46% of Indigenous households in Surrey own their own homes. 47% of Indigenous people in Surrey have some type of post-secondary education.
Indigenous people in Surrey participate in the labour force at the same rate as non-Indigenous people. Many Indigenous people have post-secondary education and are employed or seeking employment. These facts challenge some of the most persistent negative stereotypes about Indigenous people.
Some people need more support.
While we celebrate the success that some Indigenous people are having in Surrey, we also need to recognize that some people are very challenged to make a home and a life in Surrey.
37% of Indigenous children and youth in Surrey live in poverty—that’s 1,610 children and youth. 41% of children in Surrey live with a single parent. 85% of single parents in Surrey are women. More women have low-income status despite having higher levels of employment.
For additional information on a range of socio-economic indicators, check out the 2016 Profile of the Indigenous Population in Surrey.
- Skookum Health Final Report 2022
- Skookum Housing Roadmap 2022
- Skookum Lab: An indigenous Reflection of our Social Innovation Journey
- SUILC Housing Call to Action 2021