SSi Forum

Welsh speaker numbers up in government survey of Wales!


Some good news.
It’s a rather dry and long winded document, but it claims that the % of welsh speakers over 3 now at 30%


Very interesting, and I wonder where some of these new Welsh speakers are coming from :wink:


I really can’t imagine.:wink::upside_down_face::slightly_smiling_face:


As long as they are not all Lieutenants Kijé…



The document at the top of the thread refers to the annual population survey of people who say that they can speak Welsh. It’s very interesting (for those who like statistics). Here’s a separate link just to the statistics report(s).

The survey has reported every 3 months since 2005, and before that annually since 2001. The numbers seem to give an inflated value as to the actual number of Welsh speakers, mainly it seems (as discussed in the article), because figures are collated from those who have responded to the survey, and this presumably skews the figures upwards as Welsh speakers are perhaps more likely to complete it. Nevertheless, for comparitive purposes, the figures are very useful and they do show a marked increase in the number and percentage of Welsh speakers in all areas of Wales over the past decade. I won’t go into all the stats, however, the latest figures (Dec 2018) indicates that 898,700 (29.9%) could speak Welsh. This compares with 834,000 (30.0%) back in 2001. i.e. roughly similar in percentage terms, but this had dropped to 769,000 (26.3%) in 2011. A more accurate figure of the number of Welsh speakers is of course the census. For comparison the figures are: 2001: 582,000 (20.8%) and 2011: 562,000 (19.0%). So, as you can see, the values in the annual population survey overestimate the number of Welsh speakers by a factor of around 1.4. (1.44 in 2001, and 1.37 in 2011), and there had been a drop between 2001 and 2011. So, how many welsh speakers will the census record in 2021?. The number recorded in the survey appears to be rising rapidly year on year since 2011(well 2012 actually). For example, there were 871,000 speakers recorded in Dec 2017 and then 898,000 in Dec 2018. If this trend continues, we can expect at least another 50,000 speakers by 2021, and probably more. Perhaps it will even reach the magic 1,000,000! Let’s be conservative and assume not, and guesstimate that the survey will report 950,000 speakers. Taking into account the overestimation factor of (around) 1.4, I would estimate the census figure to be 678,000 (which would be back above the numbers recorded in 1961.

What is certain, is that is that the number of Welsh language speakers has been rising steadily, especially over the last few years, due in no small part to SSIW! What’s more, the figures do not take into account the Welsh ‘diaspora’, not least among the SSIW learning community where we have learners who communicate regularly from all over the world. There are still huge pressures on the language of course, especially in the Welsh speaking ‘heartlands’, and as a language of day to day communication. But at least there is hope. Felly, dal ati!