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Data / Statistics

Slate

In February 2012, Hywel Jones, the Welsh Language Commissioner’s Statistician, published a document entitled “Statistical overview of the Welsh language”.

Main points of the “Statistical overview of the Welsh language”

Distribution of Welsh speakers

The geographical distribution of Welsh speakers shifted between 1991 and 2001. This means that the likelihood of a Welsh speaker meeting another Welsh speaker at random has decreased over that period.

  • • The traditional Welsh-speaking areas: According to the Language Use Surveys of 2004–06, 56% of all fluent Welsh speakers, in every age group, lived in the four traditional Welsh-speaking counties (Anglesey, Gwynedd, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire). From the 2011 Schools’ Census, it can be calculated that 62% of the primary school pupils whose parents said that they spoke Welsh fluently at home lived in the four counties.
  • South east Wales: In 2011, more children aged 7 were assessed in Welsh first language in Rhondda Cynon Taf (523) and Cardiff (536) than in Anglesey (469) and Ceredigion (445).

Migration

  • There is a net loss of 2,000–3,000 fluent Welsh speakers every year (as a result of outmigration, death etc).
  • On average over 55 thousand people migrated into Wales from the rest of the United Kingdom annually throughout the last decade (as a comparison: the population of Merthyr Tydfil is about 56 thousand).

Fluency

According to the 1992 Welsh Social Survey, 61% (363 thousand) of those who spoke Welsh could speak the language fluently. According to the Welsh Language Use Surveys of 2004–06, 58% (317 thousand) of those who could speak Welsh considered themselves to be fluent. This suggests that the number of fluent speakers fell by about 3% (46 thousand) between 1992 and 2004–2006.

The future of the Welsh language

The figures below provide a projection from the 2001 situation.

 

 

2001

2011

2021

2031

Total aged 3 and over

 

 

 

 

% able to speak Welsh

20.8

20.0

20.0

20.3

Number able to speak Welsh

582,000

583,000

617,000

654,000

Children aged 3

 

 

 

 

% able to speak Welsh

14.9

15.4

16.2

16.3

A link to the “Statistical overview of the Welsh language” document is available on the right.

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