Portrait of Official Language Minorities in Canada - Anglophones in Quebec
- Main page
- Section 1 Definitions of Quebec English-speaking population
- Section 2 Evolution of the population by mother tongue and first official language spoken
- Section 3 Factors influencing the evolution of the population with English as a mother tongue
- Section 4 A few key sectors for the vitality of official-language minority communities
- Section 5 Subjective vitality
- Tables, charts and maps
- More information
- PDF version
- Other issues in this series
Archived information is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact-us" to request a format other than those available.
This demolinguistic portrait of Quebec Anglophones contains considerable and varied information on the characteristics, practices and perceptions of this language group. Of all this information, what stands out? While the following items are not a complete list of the key points contained in this report, a general picture emerges from them.
- Quebec's English-mother-tongue population was 607,165 persons in 2006 compared to 558,256 persons in 1951, an increase of 8.8%. By comparison, the French-mother-tongue population grew by 76.8% to 5,916,845 in 2006 while the population with a mother tongue other than English or French increased more than five-fold (506.3%), totalling 911,895 in 2006 compared to just over 150,000 in 1951. The migration of Anglophones toward other Canadian provinces is the main factor responsible for the small fluctuation of the size of the English-mother tongue population.
- The criterion of the first official language spoken (FOLS) offers a more inclusive definition of the Anglophone population. The English FOLS population's relative share is 11.9% (885,000) excluding those having French and English as a double first official language, and 13.4% (995,000) when half the population with both French and English as FOLS is included. This is a sizable difference, in comparison with the 607,000 persons who have English as their mother tongue. Such a difference is mainly the result of a significant historical attraction to the English language among immigrants that settled in Quebec.
- While the proportion of Anglophones within the Quebec population is 13.4% province-wide, the geographic distribution of this group is quite uneven. Three regions of the province account for nearly 92% (or 911,000 persons) of the Anglophone population. Thus, Anglophones in the Montréal Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) account for 80.5% (or 801,000 persons) of Quebec's Anglophone population, and their relative share within the population of that CMA is 22%. In other words, 22% of the population residing in the Montréal CMA has English as its FOLS.
- The change over time in the age structure of the Anglophone population of Quebec reflects the ageing of the population, and it results from the combined effect of a fertility rate below the replacement level and of a sizable negative net migration, particularly during the 1970s, benefiting other provinces, especially Ontario.
- From 1971 to 2006, the proportion of English-French and English-"other"-language exogamous couples among couples with at least one partner of English mother tongue greatly increased in Quebec, going from 25% to 46% and from 5% to 13% respectively during this same period (see chart 3.2.2).
- Because of the strong increase in the proportion of English-French exogamous couples from 1971 to 2006, a drop is observed in the rate of transmission of English to children under 18 years of age born from such couples. Thus, 34% of children of French-English couples were transmitted English as a mother tongue at the time of the 2006 Census, while the corresponding proportion was 51% in 1971.
- Language transfers are proportionally more numerous in Quebec among persons with other mother tongues than among Anglophones or Francophones. Whereas in the other provinces, the language transfers made by allophones are primarily toward English, in Quebec they are equally divided between French and English. Thus, in 2006, 50% of allophones who had made a language transfer were mainly using French at home while 48% were mainly using English.
- An examination of language practices in various domains in the public and private spheres reveals differences between the population whose first official language spoken is English and the population with both English and French as first official languages spoken. In the English-speaking population, English is greatly predominant in both these spheres. In the population with a dual first official language spoken, English is the language most often used when consuming media, whereas French is most often used in the public sphere, and the use of an "other" language predominates at home. However, in all domains there is considerable use of both English and French by the English-French FOLS population.
- Because of the strong concentration of Anglophones in the Montréal region and the proximity of Ontario in the case of the Outaouais region, the proportions of non-Anglophones who can conduct a conversation in English are high in both those regions. In Quebec as a whole, more than one-third of non-Anglophones can conduct a conversation in English. This proportion is 60% in the Outaouais region and 47% in Montréal.
- In 2006, more than 68% of persons with English as their mother tongue were born in Quebec, compared to just nearly 57% of those for whom English is the first official language spoken.
- It is noteworthy that 40% of all Canadian Anglophones born in Quebec and having English as their first official language spoken were living outside that province in 2006—27% in Ontario and 14% elsewhere in Canada.
- In Quebec, the proportion of immigrants varies enormously from one language group to another. It is within the English-French FOLS population that immigrants are proportionally most numerous, at 73.8% in 1971 compared to 68.6% in 2006. Within the English only FOLS population, the corresponding proportions are 25.2% and 28.0% respectively. Within the French FOLS group, the portion consisting of immigrants has changed little, since it was 2.8% in 1971 and 6.6% 35 years later.
- Since 1976, the Anglophone population in Quebec with English as first official language spoken has undergone major migratory losses to other provinces and territories. The migration of this population from Quebec to other provinces and territories peaked during the five-year period from 1976 to 1981: more than 151,000 persons left Quebec, while only slightly more than 28,000 persons went there to settle, this resulted in a negative net figure of 123,000 persons. From 1976 to 2006, 307,000 more Anglophones left Quebec than Anglophones migrated from other provinces to Quebec.
- Among persons whose first official language is English, it is English that is most often used in all domains of the private and public spheres. Although 80% of persons reported using English almost exclusively at home, it is in the consumption of media that English is most widespread. In that domain, 97% of the English FOLS population use English most often (alone or with another language). English is equally spoken most often with friends by 87% of Anglophones. While nearly 60% of Anglophones use English predominantly in their immediate network or in institutions or stores, the proportion who does so in the workplace is 53%. The use of English in the various domains of the public sphere varies from one region of the province to another; it is in the Montreal and the Outaouais regions that the use of this language is most widespread.
- In the 2006 Census, 86% of doctors working in Quebec, or 9,025, reported being able to conduct a conversation in English, while 51% reported using English at least on a regular basis in their work. For nurses, the number was 61,320 in 2006, and the proportions were 45% and 37% respectively.
- The Survey on the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities (SVOLM) results show that the majority of Anglophones in Quebec report using English when consulting the different health care professionals about whom information was collected in the SVOLM, namely family doctors, nurses, and professionals in other places where health care services are provided. However, the proportions vary from one region to another. Also, consultations of the telephone health line (Info-Santé) professionals take place more often in French: province-wide, only 43% of Quebec Anglophones use English with these professionals.
- While the number of police officers who report using English at work is much higher than the number of Anglophone police officers, the SVOLM results show that Quebec Anglophones' interactions with the municipal police and the provincial police are generally in French.
- In all regions of the province, the use of English predominates in interactions with lawyers, except in the Québec and surrounding area and the "Rest" of Quebec regions.
- French immersion programs have increasingly gained in popularity among Quebec Anglophone parents in Quebec since their inception in the 1960's. In demanding for better French second language teaching programs, Anglophone parents in Quebec have seen to it that their children's level of bilingualism increased substantially.
- The growth of English-French exogamous unions explains in part the fact that many Anglophone parents chose to register their children in a French language school. According to data from the SVOLM, 40 % of children whose parent has English as his/her mother tongue live in English endogamous families. Nearly half of them live in English-French exogamous families.
- The Survey on the Vitality of Official-Language Minorities (SVOLM) results also show that attendance of an English school appears to be a more popular choice at the secondary level. These results indicate that there is considerable exposure to French at the pre-school and kindergarten level (53%) and at the elementary level (48% in a French school and 32% in a French immersion program in an English school). In fact, at the elementary level, only 17% of young Anglophones are enrolled in a regular program in English, compared to 38% at the secondary level.
- Statistics on diplomas, certificates or degrees obtained at the postsecondary level also reveal that there is a sizable gap in university degrees or diplomas in favour of Anglophones: almost 25% of the latter have such a degree or diploma, compared to slightly more than 15% of Francophones.
- Within both the Anglophone and Francophone groups, immigrants are generally more likely to have a university diploma, one reason being that education level is one of the selection criteria for immigrants to Canada. In 2006, among Anglophones aged 25 to 34, 46% of those born outside Canada had a university diploma, compared to 41% of those born in another province (in most cases, Ontario) while 31% of Anglophones born in Quebec had such a diploma.
- A brief analysis of 2006 Census data reveals that Anglophones in Quebec are proportionally more likely than Francophones to work in certain sectors, such as professional, scientific and technical services, administrative and management services, or wholesale trade.
- Statistics on the various public administrations—federal (including defence services), provincial and territorial, and local, municipal and regional—also reveal an under-representation of Anglophones and an over-representation of Francophones within each of these groups, especially within the provincial public service. Thus, in Quebec, the federal public service is comprised of 11.7% Anglophones and 88.2% Francophones. As for Quebec's public service, Anglophones' relative share is only 2.8% while Francophones constitute 97.2% of the workforce.
- The 2006 Census data on income show that income differences are larger within the Anglophone group than within the Francophone group, with a larger proportion of Anglophones reporting an income of $100,000 and over and a larger proportion found below the low-income threshold.
- When Anglophones in Quebec were asked to describe the vitality of the Anglophone community in their municipality, 43% stated that it was "strong" or "very strong," 26% that it was "weak" or "very weak" and 28% that it was neither strong nor weak.
- Date modified: