Background: Little information has been published about the mortality of the Métis people of Canada. This study describes mortality patterns among Métis and Registered Indian adults, compared with the non-Aboriginal population.
Data source and methods: The 1991 to 2001 Canadian census mortality followup study tracked mortality among a 15% sample of respondents aged 25 or older, including 11,800 Métis, 56,700 Registered Indians and 2,624,300 non-Aboriginal adults, all of whom were enumerated by the 1991 census long-form questionnaire. Age-specific and age-standardized mortality rates and period life tables based on the number of person-years at risk were calculated across the various groups. Métis were defined by ethnic origin (ancestry).
Results: Compared with non-Aboriginal members of the cohort, life expectancy at age 25 was 3.3 and 5.5 years shorter for Métis men and women, respectively, and 4.4 and 6.3 years shorter for Registered Indians. For both Aboriginal groups, mortality rate ratios were highest at younger ages. Mortality rate differences among Métis men were particularly elevated for external causes and circulatory, respiratory and digestive system diseases; among Métis women, for circulatory system diseases, cancers, and digestive and respiratory system diseases. Generally, rate differences for Registered Indian men and women were further elevated.
Conclusions: Métis adults had higher mortality rates compared with non-Aboriginal members of the cohort, but lower rates than did Registered Indians.