Each year, hundreds and thousands of immigrants settle in Canada – effectively shaping and increasing the cultural and ethnic diversity in the country. However, as recent data suggest, immigration is also influencing the linguistic trends across the nation.
Statistics Canada’s latest release of data from the 2011 Census revealed that 20 per cent of the Canadian population (or approximately 6,630,000, people), currently speak a language other than English or French at home. And of those 6.6 million, 80 per cent reside in one of Canada’s six largest census metropolitan areas: Toronto, Montréal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Ottawa.
In terms of the two official languages of Canada, 58 per cent of the population reported speaking only English at home, while 18.2 per cent spoke only French. This represents a slight decrease compared to the 2006 Census.
According to the Census, eight language groups had increased by more than 30 per cent between 2006 and 2011:
- Tagalog – One of two official languages of the Philippines (+64%)
- Mandarin – Official language of China and Taiwan (+50%)
- Arabic – Spoken across the Middle East and parts of North Africa (+47%)
- Hindi – Official language of India (+44%)
- Creole – Mostly spoken in the Caribbean (+42%)
- Bengali – Official language of Bangladesh and commonly spoken in India (+40%)
- Persian – Official language of Iran (+33%)
- Spanish – Official language of Spain and Latin America (+32%)