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Census of population - Welsh language

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  • Release date: 29 November 2013
  • Period covered: 2011
The Census was held on 27 March 2011, and is a key source of information on the Welsh language. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for the Census in Wales and England.

The 2011 Census question asked ‘Can you understand, speak, read or write Welsh?’ – answered by ticking one or more of five boxes (one for each category and one for ‘None of these’) in any combination.  This question was only asked in Wales, and results are presented for those aged 3 and over. The Census did not collect information on fluency levels or on frequency of use. 

Between 2001 and 2011, there was a decrease in the number and proportion of people aged 3 and over able to speak Welsh in Wales.  The decrease was due to demographic changes in the population (including fewer children, more older adults and the loss of older cohorts with higher levels of Welsh speakers), migration and changes to people’s  skills between Censuses.


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