Community Profile: Northwestern

One of the highest unemployment rates in the province; growing Aboriginal community and huge disparity in income levels

Between 2001 and 2006, there was little growth in the man with painted face jpgoverall population in Northwestern, despite a 6.6% increase in Ontario overall. The youth population (13-24) in Northwestern is growing but slowly - at one-fifth the rate of the province as a whole. As well, the area's modest Francophone population decreased by 11.2%  over this five year period. However, Northwestern has a large Aboriginal community and it is growing.  Aboriginal people make up 20% of Northwestern's total population and had a robust growth rate of 17.7% between 2001 and 2006. Most of this growth occurred in Kenora, which is also the area with the highest concentration of Aboriginal people.

While employment gains were made throughout Northwestern between 2001 and 2006, this region had one of the slowest employment growth rates in the province (2.4%). As of 2006, unemployment levels were higher (8.8%) than any other region in the province. Northwestern residents were found to generally earn less than other regions in the province yet the proportion of low income families was well below the provincial rate. The complete Northwestern Community Profile includes population, labour force, education, income and language information. 

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Aboriginal Communities - Northwestern

Community Highlights

  • Northwestern has a small immigrant community and it's not managing to attract newcomers.  Of the nearly 587,000 immigrants who settled in Ontario between 2001 and 2006, just 1,000 live in Northwestern.
  • For the second time in a row, census figures show Rainy River and Thunder Bay both experienced a decrease in population.
  • In 2006, employment gains were greatest in Kenora while Thunder Bay had the lowest proportional increase.
  • Reflective of the large Aboriginal population in Northwestern, Aboriginal languages were the most often reported mother tongues outside of English and French.
  • There is a large disparity in income levels between residents living on-reserve compared to residents in general across the region.