PUNJABI, spoken by 568, 375 people, is third main “immigrant language” spoken at home in Canada after the two Chinese languages Mandarin (641,100 people) and Cantonese (594,705 people), Statistics Canada reported on Wednesday. The data is from the 2016 Census.

Punjabi was the main immigrant language spoken at home in British Columbia (222,720 people) in 2016, up 10.9% from 2011.

Spanish (553,495 people), Tagalog (Pilipino) (525,375 people) and Arabic (514,200 people) come next in Canada.

(Statistics Canada says the expression “immigrant languages” refers to languages (other than English and French) whose existence in Canada is originally due to immigration after English and French colonization.)

Proportionally speaking, the number of people who speak each of these languages individually represents between 1.4% and 1.9% of the Canadian population.

Some languages saw significant growth from 2011 to 2016. Among the languages spoken by at least 100,000 people, Tagalog (Pilipino) (+35.0%), Arabic (+30.0%), Persian (Farsi) (+26.7%), Hindi (+26.1%) and Urdu (+25.0%) experienced the largest increases. The number of people who spoke a Chinese language (Mandarin, Cantonese, etc.) at home rose 16.8% from 2011 to 2016.

Conversely, some European languages were reported by fewer people as the language spoken at home, led by Italian (-10.9%), Polish (-5.5%), German (-3.3%) and Greek (-2.3%).

These trends reflect the changes that Canada has undergone in terms of the geographic origin of its immigrants. The number of people who speak languages from countries that are recent sources of immigration, primarily Asian countries, is on the rise. Meanwhile, the number of people who speak certain European languages—which reflect older waves of immigration—is declining.

Immigrant languages are more commonly spoken in Canada’s large census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

 

IMMIGRANT languages are more commonly spoken in Canada’s large census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

The population with an immigrant mother tongue rose in every region of Canada. In absolute numbers, Ontario (+352,745 people) and Western Canada (+414,260 people) saw the largest growth from 2011 to 2016.

In relative terms, the Atlantic provinces (+33.2%) and the territories (+27.6%) saw the largest increase in the population with an immigrant mother tongue, despite accounting for only 1.2% of this population in 2016. In 2011, these two regions accounted for 1.0% of this population.

The population with an immigrant mother tongue is largely concentrated in large CMAs, with nearly two-thirds living in the CMAs of Toronto (35.3%), Vancouver (14.1%) and Montréal (13.0%). These proportions were down slightly from 2011, when they were 36.3%, 14.3% and 13.3% respectively.

In relative terms, the population with an immigrant mother tongue experienced more rapid growth in the CMAs of Edmonton (+31.1%), Calgary (+28.0%) and, to a lesser extent, Ottawa-Gatineau (+15.5%). This growth was 10.3% in Toronto, 10.6% in Montréal and 11.5% in Vancouver.

In Montréal and Ottawa-Gatineau, Arabic was the main immigrant mother tongue. In Calgary and Edmonton, the three most common immigrant mother tongues were, in order, Tagalog, Punjabi and Cantonese. In Toronto and Vancouver, they were Cantonese, Mandarin and Punjabi.

 

Some other interesting statistics:

 

* Ontario accounted for nearly half (49.5%) of Canadians whose mother tongue or language spoken at home was an immigrant language in 2016, down slightly from 2011 (50.9% for mother tongue and 51.2% for language spoken at home).

* Immigrant languages spoken at home rose significantly in Ontario from 2011 to 2016, led by Arabic (+30.5%), Persian (Farsi) (+24.0%), Urdu (+21.3%), Tagalog (Pilipino) (+19.3%), Chinese languages (+17.4%) and Punjabi (+14.5%).

* East Asian languages saw strong growth in the western provinces: Tagalog (Pilipino) is the main immigrant language spoken at home in the Prairie provinces. From 2011 to 2016, Tagalog (Pilipino) increased 123.1% in Saskatchewan, 68.3% in Alberta and 42.3% in Manitoba.

* In numbers, Punjabi was the main immigrant language spoken at home in British Columbia (222,720 people) in 2016, up 10.9% from 2011, followed closely by Mandarin (202,625 people) and Cantonese (200,280 people).

 

LINGUISTIC diversity is on the rise in Canada. Close to 7.6 million Canadians reported speaking a language other than English or French at home in 2016, an increase of almost 1 million (+14.5%) people over 2011, Statistics Canada said on Wednesday. The data is from the 2016 Census.

Moreover, the proportion of the Canadian population who speak more than one language at home rose from 17.5% in 2011 to 19.4% in 2016.

In this context of increasing linguistic diversity, English and French remain the languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society: 93.4% of Canadians speak English or French at least on a regular basis at home.

The rate of English–French bilingualism in Canada was 18% in 2016, the highest proportion ever. The previous high was 17.7% in 2001.

There was a decline in French as a mother tongue (21.3% in 2016 compared with 22.0% in 2011) and as a language spoken at home (23.3% in 2016 versus 23.8% in 2011) throughout Canada. A similar decline also occurred in Quebec, the hub of the French language in Canada.

 

 

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