Home language

Part A - Short definition:

Not applicable

Part B - Detailed definition:

Refers to the language spoken most often or on a regular basis at home by the individual on May 10, 2011.

Census years:

2011 (100% population), 2006 (1/5 sample), 2001 (1/5 sample), 1996 (1/5 sample), 1991 (1/5 sample), 1986 (1/5 sample), 1981 (1/5 sample), 1971 (1/3 sample)

Reported for:

Total population

Question number(s):

Direct variable: Question 8, part (a) and (b)

Responses:

See Figures 23, 23A, 23B, 23C, 23D, 23E and 23F.

Remarks:

This question was changed after the 1996 Census. Until that census, the question asked individuals for the language spoken most often at home, which now represents part (a) of the question that has been asked since 2001. Part (b) on other languages spoken on a regular basis at home has been added since 2001. This was done in order to reflect a more complete picture of the linguistic situation of Canadian households.

On the French version of all census forms, for all questions in the language module where there is a choice of response available, the order in which the choices appear has been modified since 1996 in order to give precedence to the category 'French.' The questions on knowledge of official languages and non-official languages, formerly asked on the long form census questionnaires, also reflect this change, in the actual wording of the questions.

For comparability purposes, Appendix D provides a list of languages released in 2001, 2006, and 2011.

Comparison with 1996 Census data

Some 2011 Census data on home language by type of response (for example, 'spoken regularly') cannot be compared with census data in 1996 and before, since the second part of the question on home language, asked for the first time in 2001, relates to any other languages spoken on a regular basis at home. The category 'Single responses' means that the language reported is the only one spoken most often at home while the category 'Multiple responses' indicates that at least two languages have been reported as spoken most often at home.

When comparing 2011 Census data on home language with data from 1996 or before, only the language spoken most often at home is to be used since, before the 2001 Census, there was no question asked regarding other languages spoken on a regular basis.

The categories 'Only' and 'Mostly' were derived to obtain the frequency of language spoken at home from the single responses reported in part (a) of the question on home language. The category 'Equally' was derived to obtain the frequency of language spoken at home from the multiple responses reported in part (a) of the question on home language. Finally, the category 'Regularly' was created from the responses reported in the second part of the question pertaining to home language, asked for the first time in 2001.

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