2. Population definition considerations

2.1. Applying the Mother Tongue (MT) concept to analyze immigrant outcomes within official language communities

Two census concepts, MT and FOLS, are frequently applieds to study the results of official language communities in Canada. Although this paper will use the FOLS variable to define linguistic categories, it is important to understand why FOLS was the variable chosen.Footnote 6 Mother Tongue, as asked on the Census, is defined as the first language learned and still understood. Historically, official language communities have been defined by results from the Census Mother Tongue question:Footnote 7 those who report an English MT are assigned to the Anglophone category and those who report French MT are assigned to the Francophone category, while those who report a non-official language MT are assigned to the Allophone category. Those who reported multiple mother tongues are then divided into the appropriate categories to which they reported.Footnote 8

Immigration has increased from 7% of the population of Quebec in 1911 to over 11% in 2006, a numeric increase from 147,100 in 1911 to 851,600 in 2006. With each census since World War II, there have been increases in the number of immigrants to Quebec and the share they represent within Quebec society (Figure 1).Footnote 9

Figure 1: Number and percentage of immigrants in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses

Number and percentage of immigrants in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses
Text version: Number and percentage of immigrants in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses
Year Number of
Immigrants
% immigrants
1911 147,070 7.33%
1921 188,576 7.99%
1931 251,743 8.76%
1941 223,943 6.72%
1951 228,923 5.64%
1961 388,449 7.39%
1971 468,930 7.78%
1981 522,150 8.20%
1991 591,210 8.68%
2001 706,965 9.92%
2006 851,560 11.45%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census (97-557-XCB2006006)

A majority of immigrants are assigned to the Allophone Mother Tongue category since the first language they learned and still understand is a non-official language. The percentage of immigrants who are assigned Allophone (MT) has increased from 66.9% of immigrants in 1991 to 72.1% in 2006, while the number of Allophone (MT) immigrants has jumped from 395,490 to 613,565.Footnote 10 Since a majority of immigrants are Allophones (MT), rising immigration rates can be tied to the increase in the percentage of the population assigned Allophone (MT) within Quebec. Figure 2 shows that the percentage of the Quebec population that is assigned Allophone (MT) increased from 8.8% in 1991 to 12.3% in 2006.Footnote 11

Figure 2: Number and percentage of Allophones (mother tongue) by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991-2006 Censuses, 20% sample

Number and percentage of Allophones (mother tongue) by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991-2006 Censuses, 20% sample
Text version: Number and percentage of Allophones (mother tongue) by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991-2006 Censuses, 20% sample
  1991 1996 2001 2006
Immigrants 395,485 454,721 493,854 613,559
Non-immigrants* 170,248 196,959 212,793 268,606
% of Quebec 8.8% 9.7% 10.3% 12.3%
Total 565,733 651,680 706,647 882,165

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

As the number and percentage of the Allophone (MT) population increases, lower proportions for Anglophones (MT) and Francophones (MT) within Quebec are the result. As a percentage of the Quebec population, Francophones (MT) declined from 82.0% in 1991 to 79.6% in 2006, while Anglophones (MT) declined from 9.2% in 1991 to 8.2% in 2006.Footnote 12 Although there was a percentage decline from 1991 to 2006, the Francophone (MT) population witnessed a numeric increase from 5,585,645 to 5,916,850, while the Anglophone (MT) population witnessed a numeric decline from 626,205 in 1991 to 607,165 in 2006.Footnote 13

The percentage of the Allophone population increases as immigration rates increase and non-official languages, in some families, are transmitted from one generation to the next. Even when Anglophone and Francophone numbers increase, the percentage they comprise of the Quebec population will continue to decrease due to the growing size of the Allophone population. The definition of Mother Tongue—first language learned and still understood—means that once someone is assigned to the Allophone category they will always be assigned to the Allophone category unless they forget or no longer understand their mother tongue. Therefore, relying solely on the MT concept to identify immigrants in official language communities is problematic, since, even though an immigrant assigned to the Allophone category may be fluent in one or both official languages, they would not be counted as contributing to either the Anglophone or the Francophone community.

2.2. Applying the First Official Language Spoken (FOLS) concept to analyze immigrant outcomes within official language communities

2.2.1. FOLS methodology

The FOLS methodology is intended to assign people to the official language category based on mother tongue (or the first language they attained during childhood), language spoken most often at home (or current behaviour), and language knowledge (or a capacity for expression in a language respondents use in their daily lives).Footnote 14 According to the Statistics Canada 2006 Census Dictionary, the aim of this process is to assign people to either the English FOLS or the French FOLS categories. English-French FOLS and Neither English nor French FOLS categories are considered residual categories and were included because not all individuals fit neatly into the English FOLS or French FOLS language categories.Footnote 15 The methodology behind the FOLS categories, which assigns people, in this case immigrants, to FOLS categories, is a step by step process.Footnote 16 The first step considers official language knowledge. The second step considers mother tongue responses. The third step examines home language(s) spoken most often at home. The fourth step assigns individuals to one of the four FOLS categories. These include English FOLS, French FOLS, English-French FOLS, and Neither English nor French FOLS. When researchers receive FOLS information, it is usually provided to them at the fourth step. To attain an Official-Language community count, a fifth step is required to assign people to either an Anglophone (FOLS) or a Francophone (FOLS) categoryFootnote 17.

Methodology for assigning First Official Language Spoken (FOLS) categories

Step 1 – Official Language Knowledge (OLK)
  • The 148,800 immigrants who reported they can conduct a conversation in English only or in English and a non-official language are assigned English FOLS.
  • The 232,300 immigrants who reported they can conduct a conversation in French only or in French and a non-official language are assigned to French FOLS.
  • Immigrants not yet assigned include:
    1. 428,100 immigrants who reported they can speak both English and French; and
    2. 42,400 immigrants who reported they can speak neither English or French.
  • A + B sums to 470,500 immigrants who are considered in Step 2.
Step 2 – Mother Tongue (MT)
  • The Mother Tongue of immigrants who could not be assigned English FOLS or French FOLS in Step 1 are considered.
  • Of the 470,500 immigrants in Step 2:
  • 41,300 immigrants reported an English Only Mother Tongue or English and Non-Official Language Mother Tongues and they are assigned to English FOLS.
  • 93,100 immigrants reported a French Only Mother Tongue or French and Non-Official Language Mother Tongues and they are assigned to French FOLS.
  • Immigrants not yet assigned include:
    1. 331,500 immigrants who reported a Non-Official Language Mother Tongue only; and
    2. 4,600 immigrants who reported English and French Mother Tongues.
  • A + B sums to 336,100 immigrants who are considered in Step 3.
Step 3 – Language spoken most often at home (HL)Footnote 18
  • Step 3 examines the language spoken most often at home of the 336,100 immigrants who remain unassigned.
  • Of these immigrants, 58,100 reported English and 86,800 French as the language they speak most often at home, and they were assigned to English FOLS and French FOLS respectively.
  • Immigrants not yet assigned include:
    1. 10,000 immigrants who reported Both English and French Home Language; and
    2. 181,200 immigrants who reported Neither English nor French Home Language.
  • A + B sums to 191,200 immigrants who will be considered in Step 4.
Step 4 – Official language knowledge (OLK)
  • By Step 4, the English FOLS and French FOLS categories have been established at 248,200 and 412,200, respectively. Step 4 focuses on assigning the remaining 191,200 immigrants who have not been assigned to English FOLS or French FOLS by examining their Official Language Knowledge. Of these, 149,800 reported knowledge of both English and French and are, therefore, assigned to the English-French FOLS category. The remaining 41,400 reported no knowledge of English or French and are assigned to the Neither English or French FOLS category.
Step 5 – Assigning Immigrants as an Anglophone or Francophone
  • A final step is required to calculate the broad categories of Anglophone (FOLS) and Francophone (FOLS). To do this, the number of people assigned to the residual English-French FOLS category is divided in half and each half is added to both English FOLS and French FOLS categories. In 2006, this entailed dividing 18% and adding 9% of immigrants to either the English FOLS or the French FOLS categories to produce Anglophone (FOLS) immigrant and Francophone (FOLS) immigrant categories. Using this method, 323,100 immigrants are assigned as Anglophone, and 487,100 immigrants are assigned as Francophone.Footnote 19

A majority of immigrants in Quebec are assigned to the two principal FOLS language categories: 29% are assigned to English FOLS and 48% are assigned to French FOLS. The two residual FOLS categories—English-French FOLS and Neither English or French FOLS—comprise 18% and 5% of Quebec immigrants respectively.

All the immigrants in the English-French FOLS category can speak both official languages, 98% have a non-official-language mother tongue only and 93% do not speak English or French most often at home. Also, not all immigrants who speak both official languages are restricted to the English-French FOLS category. The step by step assignment process means that 40% of English FOLS immigrants and 43% of French FOLS immigrants reported that they can conduct a conversation in both English and French.

Figure 3 takes Step 4 methodology and compares the results of Quebec immigrants with non-immigrants. The percentage of non-immigrants assigned to the FOLS categories are 9%, 89% and 1% for English FOLS, French FOLS and English-French FOLS respectively, while the percentage of non-immigrants assigned to English MT, French MT and English-French MT are 8%, 88%, and 1% respectively. The distribution between language categories for non-immigrants is similar for both Mother Tongue and First Official Languages Spoken.

Figure 3: Percentage of the population by immigrant status showing MT and FOLS categories in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Percentage of the population by immigrant status showing MT and FOLS categories in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Percentage of the population by immigrant status showing MT and FOLS categories in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
  Total population - Quebec Non-Immigrants* Immigrants
MT FOLS MT FOLS MT FOLS
English 8% 12% 8% 9% 9% 29%
French 79% 84% 88% 89% 19% 48%
English and French 1% 3% 1% 1% 0% 18%
Non Official Languages 12% 1% 4% 0% 72% 5%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
Note: Percents shown for 5% and higher. All percentages and numbers are provided in Appendix - Table 4.
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

The distribution between language categories for immigrants is very different, since 9%, 19%, and 0% of immigrants are assigned to the English MT, French MT and English-French MT categories respectively, while 29%, 48%, and 18% are assigned to the English FOLS, French FOLS and English-French FOLS categories respectively. For immigrants, the language variable applied (FOLS or MT) to define an official language community’s size will make a difference, while for non-immigrants, the MT and FOLS results present similar numbers and percentages. The relatively high percentage of the English-French FOLS category is an immigrant phenomenon.

Figure 4 compares the immigrant and non-immigrant results for the MT and FOLS variables. The non-immigrant percentages for MT and FOLS are similar, but this is not the case for immigrants. The FOLS concept assigns 38% and 57% of immigrants to an Anglophone (FOLS) or a Francophone (FOLS) category respectively, while the MT concept assigns 9% and 19% of immigrants to an Anglophone (MT) or a Francophone (MT) category respectively. This means that MT assigns 72% of immigrants to the Allophone category, while FOLS assigns 5% of immigrants to the Neither English nor French category. Compared with the Mother Tongue concept, FOLS is more inclusive and takes into consideration that peoples’ knowledge of languages may change over time and that their capacity to participate in society is in part reflected in their knowledge of an official language(s).

Figure 4: Percentage of the population assigned to broad MT and FOLS categories showing immigrant status in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Percentage of the population assigned to broad MT and FOLS categories showing immigrant status in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Percentage of the population assigned to broad MT and FOLS categories showing immigrant status in Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
  Total population - Quebec Non-Immigrants* Immigrants
MT FOLS MT FOLS MT FOLS
Allophone (MT)/Non-Official Language (FOLS) 12% 1% 4% 0% 72% 5%
Francophone 80% 86% 88% 90% 19% 57%
Anglophone 8% 13% 8% 10% 9% 38%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
Note: Percentages are shown for 5% and higher. All percentages and numbers are provided in Appendix - Table 4.
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

2.2.2. FOLS distribution

This section examines and compares individual FOLS categories by immigrant and non-immigrant from the 1991 to the 2006 Censuses.Footnote 20

English FOLS

Although the English FOLS category has decreased as a percentage of the Quebec population, from 12.2% in 1991 to 11.9% in 2006, numerically it has increased from 832,050 to 885,450.Footnote 21 Immigrants in the English FOLS category are increasing both numerically and as a percentage of the English FOLS category. In 1991, 214,800 people, or 25.8% of this category, were immigrants. By 2006, immigrants numbered 248,165, or 28.0% of the category.

Figure 5: Number and percentage of people assigned to English FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples

Number and percentage of people assigned to English FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
Text version: Number and percentage of people assigned to English FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
  % of QC Non-immigrant* Immigrant
1991 12.2% 599,410 214,800
1996 12.0% 603,670 223,855
2001 11.6% 588,785 224,875
2006 11.9% 618,070 248,165

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

French FOLS

The French FOLS category has decreased as a percentage of the population, from 84.8% in 1991 to 84.2% in 2006, but it has increased numerically, from 5,772,180 to 6,263,945. Immigrants comprise a small portion of this category, but the number and percentage of immigrants are increasing. In 1991, 249,540, or 4.3% of this category, were immigrants. By 2006, immigrants numbered 412,195, or 6.6% of this category.

Figure 6: Number and percentage of people assigned to French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples

Number and percentage of people assigned to French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
Text version: Number and percentage of people assigned to French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
  % of QC Non-immigrant* Immigrant
1991 84.8% 5,506,885 249,540
1996 84.7% 5,653,900 293,045
2001 85.0% 5,714,220 326,840
2006 84.2% 5,830,325 412,195

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

English-French FOLS

As the number of immigrants in Quebec has increased, so has the number and percentage assigned to the English-French FOLS category. In 1991, the English-French FOLS category comprised 144,505 people, or 2.1% of Quebec’s population. By 2006, it had increased to 218,555, or 2.9% of Quebec’s population. In 1991, immigrants assigned to English-French FOLS numbered 87,930, or 60.8% of the English-French FOLS category. By 2006, the number of immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category had increased to 149,830, or 68.6% of this category.Footnote 22 Although the English-French FOLS category is the smallest FOLS category, it is the most immigrant-concentrated.

Figure 7: Number and percentage of people assigned to English-French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples

Number and percentage of people assigned to English-French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
Text version: Number and percentage of people assigned to English-French FOLS by immigrant status in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% samples
  % of QC Non-immigrant* Immigrant
1991 2.1% 87,930 51,230
1996 2.4% 105,430 57,960
2001 2.5% 118,485 57,860
2006 2.9% 149,825 63,495

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables
*This includes people that are born in Canada and does not include non-permanent residents.

Immigrants by FOLS categories

Overall, immigrants’ numbers are increasing in the three FOLS categories, particularly in the English-French FOLS categories. Figure 8 shows the 1991 to 2006 Censuses distributions of Quebec immigrants across these FOLS language categories. It highlights how the English-French FOLS category has increased as a percentage of the immigrant population, from 15% in 1991 to 18% in 2006, the French FOLS immigrant category has increased from 42% in 1991 to 48% in 2006, while the English FOLS immigrant category has decreased from 36% in 1991 to 29% in 2006.Footnote 23

Figure 8: Percentage of immigrants by FOLS language categories in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% Sample

Percentage of immigrants by FOLS language categories in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% Sample
Text version: Percentage of immigrants by FOLS language categories in Quebec, 1991 to 2006 Censuses, 20% Sample
  1991 1996 2001 2006
English FOLS 36% 34% 32% 29%
English-French FOLS 15% 16% 17% 18%
French FOLS 42% 44% 46% 48%
Neither English nor French FOLS 7% 6% 5% 5%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables

The implications of an increasing English-French FOLS category and a decreasing English FOLS category for the Anglophone immigrant community is that the English-French FOLS category is comprising a larger proportion of Anglophone immigrants. As shown in Figure 9, within the Anglophone immigrant category, the English-French FOLS category increased from 17.0% to 23.2% while the English FOLS category decreased from 83.0% to 76.8%.Footnote 24

Figure 9: Composition of Anglophone (FOLS) immigrants, Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample

Composition of Anglophone (FOLS) immigrants, Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
Text version: Composition of Anglophone (FOLS) immigrants, Quebec, 2006 Census, 20% sample
  1991 1996 2001 2006
English FOLS 83% 81% 79% 77%
English-French FOLS 17% 19% 21% 23%

Source: Statistics Canada, 2006 Census, Department of Canadian Heritage custom tables

This paper will focus its analysis on immigrants assigned to the English FOLS and English-French FOLS categories, while the French FOLS category will be included for comparative purposes. The rationale for considering immigrants assigned to the English-French FOLS category separately is: 1) almost one in four immigrants in the Anglophone (FOLS) category is from the English-French FOLS category; 2) its contribution to the Anglophone population is increasing over time as more and more immigrants in Quebec are assigned to this category, and; 3) of the three FOLS categories, it is the most immigrants-concentrated.Footnote 25 This paper will investigate whether the immigrants in the English-French FOLS category are more similar to French FOLS, to English FOLS, to a combination of English FOLS and French FOLS or whether they are a unique category.Footnote 26

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