What is the population of the Inuit today?This was one of the questions a Circumpolar Musings user asked and was directed to this site.
I don't know if the user found the answer, but in case someone else needs to know, I did a bit of digging and came up with an estimate that's likely out by a bit: 150,500
The online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, claims there are 150,000 but there is no supporting information to show how that estimate was reached, which would have been useful.
The introduction to a 1999 book on the health of Inuit says "About 128,000 Inuit live in the circumpolar area" (http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1114598) but, again, there's no clear source for that figure.
For more general information on Arctic demography, see the 2004 Arctic Human Development Report, Chapter 2, "Arctic Demography" (pdf) by Dmitry Bogoyavlenskiy, Center for Demography and Human Ecology, Institute for Economic Forecasting, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation, and Andy Siggner, Statistics Canada. Inuit are not counted separately from other Arctic Indigenous peoples.
Survey of Living Conditions in the Arctic: Inuit, Saami, and Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka (SLICA) preliminary information reports rounded figures for Inuit/Greenlanders and all Indigenous people in Chukotka and give 89,000 (including 11,000 Inupiat in Alaska), which seems a bit low to me. The 2007 SLICA results tables (a massive 576 pages, pdf) does not have a population summary table, but contains a very great deal of information on many aspects of living conditions in the Arctic.
Inuit (Eskimos) live in four different countries who use different ways of counting people. However, this is what I was able to find:
Statistics Canada says that, in the 2001 Census, "Of the 976,305 people who identified themselves as Aboriginal in the 2001 Census, about 5%, or 45,070, reported that they were Inuit."
Another StatsCan fact sheet added that "The majority lived in 53 communities across the Canadian Arctic in four self-governing Inuit regions: Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut, and Inuvialuit. Only about one-fifth of Inuit lived in urban areas in southern Canada." In 2001, "Four of the five communities with the largest Inuit populations are all north of the 60th parallel and in Nunavut. The four above the 60th parallel are Iqaluit (3,010), Arviat (1,785), Rankin Inlet (1,680), and Baker Lake (1,405), while Kuujjuaq (1,540) in Quebec, lies just below the 60th parallel."
More 2001 (the last census that's been analyzed in detail) information on Aboriginal people in Canada can be found here: http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census01/Products/Analytic/companion/abor/canada.cfm
In 2005, Statistics Canada projected about 53,400 to 53,500 Inuit for 2006 but we will need to wait for the 2006 census analysis to see how accurate this is.
Alaska, United States
The US Census does not appear to distinguish between the different Indigenous peoples in Alaska, lumping everyone into the "American Indian and Alaska Native" category. The 2000 Census reported 98,043 American Indian and Alaska Native "one race" and 119,241 others who identified as American Indian and Alaska Native "alone or in combination with one or more other races." A report on Alaska Indigenous languages published in 1997 listed 35,600 for all Eskimo groups.
A 2002 American Census Bureau document reporting analysis of the 2000 census, "Census 2000 Brief: The American Indian and Alaska Native Population: 2000" (C2KBR01-15), reports that "There were 45,919 respondents who reported Eskimo alone and an additional 8,842 who reported Eskimo with at least one other race or American Indian or Alaska Native tribal grouping. A total of 54,761 people reported Eskimo alone or in combination with one or more other races or American Indian or Alaska Native tribal groupings" (p.9).
Greenland statistics do not distinguish between Indigenous and non-Indigenous. However, they do report that in 2002, there were 52,529 people who had "strong kinship relation to Greenland," meaning they were born there and had at least one parent who was born there. That could be used as a way of approximating the number of Kallalit in Greenland. Another way of estimating the number is to use the 2005 population figure (56,969) and the 2003 estimate of the percentage of Inuit (hoping the 2005 proportion is not so different), 88% and do the math, yielding a figure of 50,133 Inuit in 2002.
For Chukotka, the Red Cross of Chukotka web site says there was a total of 73,870 people in the okrug in 2002. Of these, 0.9% are Inuit. Doing the math would mean there is an Inuit/Eskimo population of about 665. We can't be more precise, since the percentage is only reported to one decimal place.
The final tally
This is what I came up with:
|Greenland||2005||50,133||Statistics Greenland (pdf)|
|Alaska||2000||54,761||US Census Bureau|
|Russia||2002||665||Red Cross of Chukotka|
Figures last updated 1 June 2007.