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2006 Census: The Evolving Linguistic Portrait, 2006 Census: Evolution of the language situation in Quebec

Allophones increase use of French at home

Quebec's allophones (both immigrants and non-immigrants) are using French more frequently at home. In 2006, 24% of them reported speaking French most often at home, up from 20% in 2001 and 17% in 1996. In comparison, the proportion of allophones who reported using English most often at home edged downward from 22% in 2001 to 21% in 2006.

For the first time, allophone language transfers to French are greater than to English

The Anglophone population of Quebec has historically benefited from the almost total language transfers of allophones towards English. However, in 2006, for the first time, the majority of allophones using an official language most often at home adopted French as their main home language.

In 2006, 51% of allophones transferred their home language to French, up from 46% in 2001 and 39% in 1996. Conversely, the proportion of transfers to English declined to 49% in 2006, compared with 54% in 2001 and 61% in 1996.

While allophones who immigrated many years ago tend to use English rather than French at home, a majority of those who have arrived since 1971 have transferred to French. Among allophones who landed in Canada between 2001 and 2006 and use either English or French most often, 75% speak mainly French at home. This proportion is higher than in any other period of immigration.

Considering the language transfers to either of the two Canadian official languages, 24% of allophone immigrants in Quebec who arrived in Canada between 2001 and 2006 reported English or French as the language used most often at home.

For a given immigrant cohort, this percentage increases with the length of time they have been in the country. For example, of those who landed in Canada between 1981 and 1990, 24% reported in the 1991 Census that they spoke English or French most often at home, compared with 30% in 2001 and 34% in 2006.

Table 14 Use of an official language most often at home among the immigrant population of non-official mother tongue by period of immigration, Quebec, 1971, 1991, 2001 and 2006

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