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Languages in Canada

Below is a Google Maps widget representing the most common mother tongue other than English and French in each census subdivision or census tract of Canada. You may need to wait a few seconds before the colours are displayed. Click on any subdivision to bring up its name, percentage of people who are native English speakers and French speakers, the most commonly spoken language other than those two, and the percentage of people who speak that language. Numbers are derived from the 2011 Census, catalogue numbers 98-314-XCB2011016 and 98-314-XCB2011035 on the Statistics Canada website.

German
Spanish
Italian
Arabic
Tagalog
Chinese, n.o.s.
Dutch
Punjabi
Portuguese
Cantonese
Ukrainian
Cree, n.o.s.
Polish
Ojibway
Korean
Persian (Farsi)
Mandarin
Russian
Urdu
Tamil
Greek
Inuktitut
Romanian

The legend at right shows the most commonly seen languages in the map, which together account for just under 90% of all the subdivisions/tracts with language data. I chose the colours mostly by random-number generation. The abbreviation "n.o.s." stands for "no other specification".

The opacity of the shading is related to the percentage of people in the region who speak the language in question, with solid colour being used for anything over 20%. Note that when the percentage and population are low, it may be only one family in the subdivision speaking the language in question.

Statistics Canada introduces some deliberate random errors into its numbers for privacy purposes – there may be only one or two people in a particular region with some characteristic. I believe this is the cause of the occasional subdivisions where greater than 100% of the people report speaking either English or French. Note that the sum of English and French speakers may be legitimately greater than 100%, since some people are raised bilingual.

For the tracts, I combined the data across constituent census dissemination areas. In each of those dissemination areas, counts were rounded to a multiple of 5, so combining them may introduce errors when percentages are small.

I used the gcsd000b11a_e.shp and gct_000b11a_e.shp shapefiles available from Statistics Canada on this page, simplifying the geometries in QGIS to reduce the file size, and removing the subdivisions where there was the more detailed tract data available.

Posted 2014-05-24; updated 2014-06-01.


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