Demographic Vitality

The French language

The vast majority of Nunavut's population is neither Anglophone nor Francophone. Of the 31,152 persons residing in the territory on December 31, 2008, some 85% have Inuktitut as their mother tongue, and for 15,000 of these residents, it is the language spoken most often at home. According to the 2006 census, the first official language spoken by most of the territory's inhabitants is English (26,575 persons); as for French, it is the mother tongue of some 465 residents of Nunavut.
 

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Nunavut

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Nunavut

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

French 410
English 8,050
Non-official languages 21,170
Total population 29,325


Note: Some people declared having more than one mother tongue.
As a result, the total of the categories exceeds territorial population.



Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, Nunavut

Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, Nunavut

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

French 465
English 26,575
Neither English nor French 2,290


Note: Some people have more than one first official language spoken.
As a result, the total of the categories exceeds territorial population.

Numbers that keep growing, but a decreasing percentage


Between 1951 and 1991, the number of French speakers greatly increased in the census area that then included the Northwest Territories and is now Nunavut. However, this increase mostly benefited the Northwest Territories, helped by the rapid expansion of the mining industry around Yellowknife.

Over the last few years, the Francophone population of Nunavut has increased very slightly, from 445 persons in 1996 to 465 persons in 2006. However, their proportion in the overall population has somewhat decreased, falling from 1.8% in 1996 to 1.6% 10 years later. Nunavut's Francophones are concentrated in the town of Nunavut, where they account for 5% of the population.
 

French as Mother Tongue and French as First Official Language Spoken, 1951-2006, Nunavut

French as Mother Tongue and French as First Official Language Spoken, 1951-2006, Nunavut

Data from: Marmen and Corbeil, 2004 and Statistics Canada

*The first official language spoken variable did not exist prior to 1991

A mostly adult population


The population of Nunavut is by far the youngest in the country, with a median age of 23. However, the Francophone community is much older, with a median age of 39.

Nunavut's Francophone population is composed largely of adults. Those under 20 years of age account for 19% of the Francophone population. In fact, the majority of the Francophones (58%) are between 20 and 49 years of age, a figure that reflects the specific nature of Nunavut's economy, largely dominated by natural resources operations. In Francophone circles in the Territories, there are few families, and young people are scarce. The consolidation of French-language educational institutions could help the Francophone community of Nunavut to replenish its base.
 

Age distribution, 2006, Francophones, Nunavut

Age distribution, 2006, Francophones, Nunavut

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census