Bilingualism among Canadian children and youth

Release date: December 16, 2019
Infographic: Bilingualism among Canadian children and youth
Description: Bilingualism among Canadian children and youth

Bilingualism among Canadian children and youth

English–French bilingualism among children and youth aged 5 to 17
  2006 2016
%
Canada 16 19
Canada outside Quebec 12 15
Quebec 28 33

Among Canadian youth, English–French bilingualism increases as they get older.

To examine the progression of English–French bilingualism, the same group of children and youth was examined at two points in time:

  • In 2006, when they were aged 5 to 17.
  • In 2016, when they were aged 15 to 27.

Increases were seen in all provinces and territories, particularly in Quebec.

English–French bilingualism rate of a cohort of children and youth who were aged 5 to 17 in 2006 and 15 to 27 in 2016
Province or territory of residence 2006 2016
%
Canada 17 27
Quebec 28 66
New Brunswick 37 50
Prince Edward Island 24 27
Yukon 10 19
Nova Scotia 14 17
Northwest Territories 15 15
Ontario 14 15
Newfoundland and Labrador 11 14
Manitoba 13 14
British Columbia 11 12
Alberta 9 9
Saskatchewan 7 7
Nunavut 2 3

Retention and acquisition of English–French bilingualism are different in Quebec.

Children and youth in Quebec were more likely to retain their second official language.

Among children and youth who were bilingual in 2006, how many were still bilingual in 2016?

  • Quebec: 94%
  • Rest of Canada: 65%

The acquisition of a second official language by non-bilingual youth was also higher in Quebec.

Among children and youth who were not bilingual in 2006, how many had become bilingual by 2016?

  • Quebec: 55%
  • Rest of Canada: 7%

Source: Turcotte, Martin. 2019. "Results from the 2016 Census: English–French bilingualism among Canadian children and youth." Insights on Canadian Society.October. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 75-006-X.

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