Recent History & Demographics

demographicThe Inuit have inhabited the northern Quebec territory of Nunavik for more than 4,000 years. Over the past 300 years, the most substantial and long-standing contact between the Inuit of Nunavik and Europeans was with Anglican missionaries, traders, and the Hudson’s Bay Company. Inuit were a nomadic people. It was only in the early 1950s that Inuit adopted a more sedentary lifestyle by establishing residence in permanent villages

There are over 10,000 Inuit in Nunavik, living in 15 villages along the Ungava Bay, Hudson’s Straight, and Hudson’s Bay coasts.

There are over 10,000 Inuit in Nunavik, living in 15 villages along the Ungava Bay, Hudson’s Straight, and Hudson’s Bay coasts. (This includes Inuit living in Chisasibi, which is located outside of the Nunavik territory.) The communities are between 1,000 and 1,900 kilometres north of Montreal. All but four of these communities have less than 1,000 inhabitants. The largest communities are Kuujjuaq, Puvirnituq, Salluit and Inukjuak. Inuit are Canadian citizens, and pay all federal and provincial sales and income taxes.

At the last census there about 1000 non-Inuit residents living in Nunavik.

The population of Nunavik is young. More than 60% of the Inuit population is under the age of 30, twice the percentage of southern Quebec. The natural population growth rate among Inuit is three to four times higher than the Quebec or national average. Life expectancy increased dramatically since the 1950s, from an average age of 48 years to the current life expectancy of 66.

Schools were first established by the federal government in the 1950s. The education system is currently operated by the Kativik School Board (KSB). Students are taught in Inuktitut until the third grade, at which time they choose English or French as their language of instruction. The Inuit language and culture continue to be taught throughout primary and secondary school. The level of language retention in Nunavik is over 95% among Inuit. Inuktitut remains the dominant language spoken.

The predominant religion in Nunavik is Anglican.