Impact of Immigrant Linguistic Assimilation on a Multilingual Population Dynamic: A Microsimulation Approach

Patrick Sabourin, INRS - Centre Urbanisation Culture Société
Alain P. Belanger, INRS - Centre Urbanisation Culture Société

Like many western countries, Canada is facing declining natural increase and rapid population aging and has increased its immigration intakes. New immigrants have to learn either one or both of official languages, French and English. In this context, linguistic choices of immigrants will have an increasing impact on the linguistic composition of Quebec’s population, which is an important political issue. In this paper, we assess the impact of different assumptions on the linguistic dynamic in Canada and Quebec using a microsimulation projection model which allows for intergenerational language transfers and language shifts over the life course. Results show that regardless of the level, linguistic composition of immigration or language shift behaviours, the number of English speakers will increase in number and proportion. We also demonstrate that the linguistic composition of new immigrants is the most important factor to reduce the rate of decline of French in both Quebec and Canada.

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Presented in Poster Session 6