More than 80% of the population is Canadian-born. In general, the percentage of the population born outside Canada increases as one goes westward from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Persons of whole or partial British (including Irish) origin make up about 28% of the total population; those of whole or partial French origin (centered mainly in Québec, where they constitute some 80% of the population) make up 23%. Other European groups account for 15% of the total populace. About 26% of the population are from mixed backgrounds. Others, mostly Asian, African, and Arab, make up about 6% of the population.
Amerindians, commonly known as Indians constituted about 2%. These Indians were classified into ten major ethnolinguistic groups; the métis, of mixed European and Indian extraction, were recognized as an aboriginal people in the Constitution Act of 1982. Most of the Inuit (Eskimos) live in the Northwest Territories, with smaller numbers in northern Québec and northern Newfoundland (Labrador). Since 1959, Inuit cooperatives have been formed to finance fishing, fish processing, retail, housing, and tourist enterprises, and to promote the graphic arts.