Demographic Vitality

The French language


The population of Newfoundland and Labrador is very homogeneous with regard to language. Of the province's 500,610 inhabitants, only 12,200 have a mother tongue other than English. Of these, less than a quarter are Francophones, and 9,540 exclusively have a non-official language as mother tongue. Aside from French, the most common languages are Montagnais-Naskapi (1,600 speakers), the Chinese languages (1,095), German (695) and Spanish (655).
 

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador

Population by Mother Tongue, 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


French 2,225
English 489,150
Non-official languages 10,020
Total population 500,610


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, Newfoundland and Labrador

Population by First Official Language Spoken, 2006, Newfoundland and Labrador

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census


French 2,030
English 498,010
Neither French nor English 755

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

Fluctuations in the Francophone population...


The Francophone population of Newfoundland and Labrador grew between 1951 and 1971, then declined, then slowly increased, then once again declined. Over the last 15 years, the number of Francophones decreased from 2,855 to 2,515 in 2001 and 2,225 in 2006.

These fluctuations are not surprising, since at certain times during this period many people from Quebec worked in Labrador for a short time, and many Newfoundlanders left the province to find work.

... and fluctuations in percentages


The percentage of Francophones in the province has also fluctuated widely, although it has never reached more than 1 percent. In 1961 and 1971, Francophones represented 0.7 percent of the total population of Newfoundland and Labrador, but in 2001 and 2006 they were close to 0.5 percent of the total.

For the most part, Francophones in Newfoundland and Labrador are concentrated in three census divisions. Their involvement in the daily life of communities in these areas is much higher than their percentage of the provincial population would suggest.
 

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

<strong>French as Mother Tongue and French as First Official Language Spoken, 1951-2006, Newfoundland and Labrador</strong>

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census

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

A mostly adult population


Most Francophones in Newfoundland and Labrador are adults. The small percentage of young people is particularly noticeable in the age pyramid, where there are marked discrepancies between youth and adults, including the over-65 population at the top of the pyramid.

This demographic structure reflects the particular economy of Newfoundland and Labrador which is largely dominated by resource exploitation, but it isn't the only factor. The gap between the median age of the Francophone population and the provincial population (47 compared to 42 for the general population) is significant. In certain Francophone areas of the province, there are few families and not many young people.
 

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, Newfoundland and Labrador

Age Distribution, 2006, Francophones, Newfoundland and Labrador

Data from: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census