Size of the English-speaking population

Two percent (2%) of the population in the Capitale-Nationale (RTS 03) region is English-speaking.

The province of Québec has 1,097,925 English speakers, representing 13.8% of its population. In the RTS 03 territory, 14,205 people are English-speaking, representing two percent of the region’s population (CHSSN, 2018).

Breakdown by age

According to the 2016 census, the proportion of English speakers aged 25 to 44 increased, and there was a decrease in those aged 65 and up.

This change in the breakdown of the population by age was observed in both RTS 03 and the province of Québec.

Based on the relative weights of the 45–64 and 65+ age groups, the structure of the English-speaking population is slightly younger than that of the French-speaking population, in both the RTS 03 and the province of Québec as a whole. In the Capitale-Nationale region, these two age groups represent 42% of the English-speaking population, compared with 47% of the French-speaking population.

The relative weight of 0–24-year-olds is slightly lower in the English-speaking population than in the French-speaking population (25% vs. 27%), in both the RTS 03 and the province of Québec as a whole.

The most notable difference in the population structures of these two language groups is among 25–44-year-olds, where the relative weight of the English-speaking population is higher than that of the French-speaking population, particularly in the Capitale-Nationale region (33% vs. 26%).

Socioeconomic status

English speakers in the Capitale-Nationale region are overrepresented in the population living below the low-income cut-off (LICO)[1] compared with French speakers. There is an imbalance disfavouring English speakers in all age groups, except among those aged 65 and up.

In 2016 as well, the unemployment rate of the English-speaking population was slightly higher. Also in 2016, there were twice as many single-parent households and households living below LICO (CHSSN, 2018) among English speakers.


Graduation rates vary depending on the level of education achieved

In 2016, the proportion of the Québec population with a high school diploma at most was slightly higher among French speakers (35.3%) than English speakers (32.5%). The gap is wider for vocational school graduates (10.2% of English speakers vs. 17.3% of French speakers) (CHSSN, 2018).

The proportion of the English-speaking population with a non-university postsecondary diploma (15.6%) is slightly lower than that of the French-speaking population (20.3%) (CHSSN, 2018).

However, the proportion of the English-speaking population with a university diploma at the bachelor level or above (38.3%) is significantly higher than that of the French-speaking population (23.4%). The proportion of the population with a university diploma below the bachelor level is similar among English and French speakers (3.4% and 3.7%, respectively) (CHSSN, 2018).

Ethnic origin and mobility

The English-speaking community is more ethnically diverse.

The composition of the English-language minority community in the Capitale-Nationale region has changed over time. Today, close to half of this community was born in another Canadian province or abroad (HSSPC, 2017).

The English-speaking community represents 2% of the Capitale-Nationale region’s total population. While the community includes English speakers who have lived in the province of Québec for generations, the majority of its members are immigrants who have chosen the Capitale-Nationale region. Each year, more than 2,300 immigrants settle in the Québec City region.

They arrive from various regions and speak different languages. According to the Voice of English-speaking Québec, every five years, 25% of the English-speaking population is renewed through newcomers.

A greater proportion of English-speaking community members belong to a visible minority (Pocock, 2018).

Visible minority English speakers are more socioeconomically vulnerable. One third (33.2%) live below LICO, compared with 17% of English speakers who do not belong to a visible minority and 13.8% of French speakers in the rest of the province (HSSPC, 2017).

A mobile population

According to the survey on community vitality, English-speaking respondents in the Capitale-Nationale region are less inclined to leave their region of residence than in the province of Québec overall. (CHSSN, 2016c).

English-speaking respondents:

  • Under 5
  • Age 5 to 20
  • Over 20

Capitale-Nationale region

  • 3.1%
  • 19.4%
  • 77.5%

Province of Québec

  • 5.2%
  • 26.5%
  • 68.3%

Source: CHSSN, 2016

1 Note that in 2012, Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi, et de la Solidarité sociale, through Centre d’étude sur la pauvreté et l’exclusion, recommended that the low-income cut-off (LICO) no longer be used in the province of Québec, because the indicator has statistical modelling limitations. It does not properly track poverty and social inclusion. Furthermore, the use of LICO before tax inflates the numbers, because it does not reflect the government transfers available to vulnerable populations. Nevertheless, we are using LICO here, because it is referred to in the resources we consulted.