Canadian government census figures show that there are now 200 languages spoken in Canada.
The first Canadian census was held in 1871. Since 1956, censuses have been held every five years. The most recent was held in 2011. Analysis of the census data shows that there are now more than 200 languages spoken. 20% of the population (6.6m people) mainly speak a language other than French or English at home. Of these, 6.4m speak 'immigrant languages' and 213,000 speak aboriginal Canadian languages.
90% of those who speak 'immigrant languages' at home live in Canada's cities. 80% live in the six largest cities in Canada.
• 1.7m live in Toronto. This is 32.4% of the city population. The most commonly spoken immigrant languages spoken there are Chinese languages and Punjabi
• 626,045 live in Montreal (16.5%) Most common languages: Arabic, Spanish, Italian
• 711,515 live in Vancouver (31%) Chinese, Punjabi
• Calgary 227,515 (18.9%) Punjabi, Tagalog, Chinese
• Edmonton 165,145 (14.5%) Tagalog, Punjabi, Chinese
• Ottawa-Gatineau 140,675 (11.5%) Arabic, Chinese, Spanish
The census found that a majority of the population (58%, 19.2m people) speak English at home. 18.2% of the population (6m people) speak French at home. The majority of these live in Quebec. However, the percentage of the population of Quebec which speaks French at home is declining. In 2001, 77% of Quebecois spoke French at home. In 2011, this figure had fallen to 72.8%.
A statement issued by Statistics Canada which conducted the census said that English and French 'exert a strong pull as languages of convergence and integration into Canadian society, especially as languages of work, education and the provision of government services.'
Doug Norris of Environics Analysis told the Montreal Gazette 'the immigration patterns we have seen evolve over the last two or three decades that shift away from the European immigration and toward Asia and Latin America….The fact that we ourselves are becoming more diverse…is a real asset to us as a country…I think it strengthens us as a nation.'
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