Demographic Vitality

The French language


French is the mother tongue of 532,855 people in Ontario, a little more than 4% of the total population of the province; however, the presence of many Ontarians with French as their principal language of use but not their mother tongue brings the total number of Francophones to 578,040 and their percentage of the population to almost 5 percent.

The percentages are higher for English, with 68% of the population reporting English as their mother tongue and 93% for whom it is their first official language spoken. However, more than 3 million people have a non-official language as their mother tongue, representing almost 27% of the total population. This is certainly proof of linguistic and cultural diversity in today's Ontario.
 

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Ontario

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Ontario

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

French 532,855
English 8,398,240
Non-official languages 3,276,685
Total population 12,028,895


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


Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, Ontario

Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, Ontario

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


French 578,040
English 11,270,825
Neither English nor French 260,920


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

Growing numbers...


The number of Ontarians with French as their first official language spoken has continued to increase since this information has been included in censuses. The number increased from 535,855 in 1991 to 578,040 in 2006, reflecting the growing contribution of newcomers who speak French as their main language but have another language as their mother tongue.

In comparison, the Franco-Ontarian community in 2007 had nearly 533,000 mother-tongue Francophones, a number that has remained more or less stable since 2001.

 

...but lower percentages


The relative proportion of Franco-Ontarians with French as their first official language spoken is 4.8%, compared with 5.4% in 1991. Mother tongue Francophones represent 4.36% of the population, compared with 7.4% in 1951.

This decrease is due to a greater extent to the more rapid increase in the relative percentage of the English-language population than to a decrease in the French-language population. The Francophone populations of Ottawa and Toronto, and the primarily Francophone county of Prescott-Russell, have all grown by more than 3% between 2001 and 2006.
 

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

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

Data from: Marmen and Corbeil, 2004 and Statistics Canada
*The first official language spoken variable did not exist prior to 1991

A high proportion of seniors


There are 84,790 Francophones aged 65 years and over with French as their first official language spoken. Moreover, the median age of Francophones in Ontario, 42, is markedly higher than the average age of the total Ontario population, which is 39 years. Young people under the age of 20 (0-19) accounted for only 20% of Ontario's Francophone population.

The Francophone population is not growing at the same rate as the other population groups in the province. A large percentage of them are however of working age and able to actively participate in the social and economic life of the province; close to 65 percent are aged between 20 and 64.
 

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, Ontario

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, Ontario

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census