Demographic Vitality

The French language


The population of British Columbia is fairly diverse in terms of language. English is the mother tongue of 71 percent of the 4,074,380 inhabitants of the province, compared to 1.5 percent for French. Another 27.6 percent have a non-official mother tongue, a percentage which is increasing each year: in 2001, this group accounted for only 24.3 percent of the population.
 

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, British Columbia

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, British Columbia

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


French 63,295
English 2,926,265
Non-official languages 1,137,945
Total population 4,074,380

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


British Columbia's Francophone community also includes a good number of people that do not have French as their mother tongue but use it in everyday life; in fact, 70,410 people have French as their first spoken official language.
 

Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, British Columbia

Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, British Columbia


Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


French 70,410
English 3,900,565
Neither English nor French 120,755

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

An increase in numbers...


The number of people with French as their mother tongue went up from 43,415 in 1981 to 63,295 in 2006, an increase of nearly 50 percent in 25 years. This increase came on the heels of the strong growth of the Francophone population during the 1960s due to a strong economy.

For almost 50 years, Francophones from all over Canada have been drawn to British Columbia where they have formed an extensive network of institutions, both in major centres and in small towns. Moreover, for the past few years French-speaking immigrants from other Francophone countries have contributed significantly to the growth of the province's Francophone population.

... and a relatively stable proportion


Francophones account for 1.7 percent of the population, which is the same percentage as in 1991. Their proportion of the total population thus remained essentially the same despite a 5,5 percent increase, in the last five years, in people with French as their first spoken official language.
 

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

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

Data from: Marmen and Corbeil, 2006, and Statistics Canada

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

A mostly adult population


The median age of British Columbia's Francophone community is 48, eight years more than the median for the population of the province as a whole.

The Francophone population is largely made up of adults (84 percent). Francophones under 20 account for only 16 percent of the community's population.

British Columbia's Francophone community is not replenishing its numbers at the same rate as other populations in the province. A larger percentage of Francophones are, however, of working age and able to actively participate in the economic life of the province.
 

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, British Columbia

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, British Columbia

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census