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2006 Census: The Evolving Linguistic Portrait, 2006 Census: Sharp increase in population with a mother tongue other than English or French

Nearly half of allophones speak English or French most often at home

Slightly less than one allophone in two (46%) speaks English or French most often at home. The proportion rises to 68% when considering allophones who report that they speak a language other than English or French most often at home but use English or French on a regular basis as well.

Two out of five allophones (40%) speak English or French exclusively at home.

The use of official languages increases with length of time in Canada

Length of time in Canada affects the language that allophones speak most often at home. The longer allophone immigrants have been in the country, the more they are exposed to the predominant language of the host society. This tends to impact the language spoken most often at home.

In 2006, 19% of immigrants to Canada since 2001 speak English or French most often at home. This proportion increases to one-third for those arriving in the 1980s. Among allophone immigrants who arrived between 1961 and 1970, half reported that they speak one or the other of the official languages most often at home.

Table 3 Use of an official language most often at home among allophones by period of immigration, Canada, 1971, 1991 and 2006

An official language is used most often at home by allophones living in an exogamous couple

A couple is termed 'exogamous' when the spouses do not have the same mother tongue. In Canada, when allophone lives in a couple with an Anglophone or a Francophone, the language other than English or French is seldom the primary language used at home.

For 97% of the cases where allophone's spouse or partner has English as mother tongue, English is the predominant language at home outside Quebec. In Quebec, the proportion reaches 92%.

When considering allophones whose spouse or partner has French as mother tongue (French-and-other-language exogamous couple), in Quebec, 80% report French as the predominant home language, while 19% report that English is used most often at home. Outside Quebec, in French-and-other-language exogamous couples, English is the predominant home language for 82% of the allophones, while 15% speak French most often at home1.


  1. Includes all responses where English or French is mentioned.

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