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Linguistics: LING 1360

This page focuses on using Census data to find statistics on heritage language speakers in Canada, Manitoba, and Winnipeg.

Other key resources for your assignments can be found on the other pages of this guide. Find a link to Ethnologue on the Getting Started page, and WALS on the Reference & Multimedia page of the guide. Use the search box on the library's homepage to find further information.

Using 2021 Census Profiles

To find statistics from the 2021 Census on heritage language speakers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada, you will use Census Profiles.

  1. On the Census Profiles page, scroll down to choose Winnipeg. When you get to the Census profile, ensure you are looking at Winnipeg, City (CY) or (Subdivision). 
  2. Choose Add a Geography, and add Manitoba and then Canada.
  3. Now click on Add or Remove Data
    1. Deselect all topics. Under Language, choose the following variables relevant to heritage languages: Mother tongue, Language spoken most often at home, and Knowledge of languages. Other variables that may be of interest include: 
    2. To the right you will see options for Gender. Deselect Men+ and Women+, leaving only Total.
    3. Click Apply.
  4. Now you have a table showing statistics for Winnipeg. Each of the 3 variables you've selected has a section of the table; scroll down until you find your language of interest for each question. Record these statistics in your notes.
  5. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and copy Statistics Canada's suggested citation, and pate it into your notes. You can reformat this later, but for now it's important to have.

Exploring 2021 Census Tables (Optional)

An optional additional step is to explore the Census tables which pertain to heritage languages. I suggest selecting the topic of Language. Once on the Languages Census tables page, you can either scroll to explore, or choose "Browse by variables." Whichever method you choose, remember these principles:

  • Most variables about language only report official languages. So, focus on the 3 variables described in the Census Profiles instructions above.
  • If you are looking at statistics at the city level, try to stick with variables which report Winnipeg (CY) or (Subdivision), so they are comparable to the statistics you gathered above.
  • Always remember to scroll down and collect the suggested citation from the bottom of every page you use.

Exploring older Census profiles (Optional)

If you're interested in exploring older Census profiles, they are available from 2001, but they often don't report the same level of detail for each variable. Comparable statistics can be found from 2011 onward. If you choose to explore older Census profiles, follow the same 3 principles described in the "Exploring 2021 Census Tables (Optional)" section above. 

Background information on the Census

Citing Census statistics

When using Census Profiles or Data Tables, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the section called "How to cite." This contains all the information Statistics Canada wants you to include in your reference list, but is not necessarily formatted as per APA. It's up to you to reformat this in APA. This page from Statistics Canada provides several examples in APA, which you can use to build your reference.

Selected sources on heritage languages in Canada

Duff, P. A., & Ava, B.-Z. (2017). Demographics and Heritage Languages in Canada: Policies, Patterns, and Prospects. In The Routledge Handbook of Heritage Language Education. Routledge. (available from Google Books).

Duff, P. A., & Li, D. (2009). Indigenous, Minority, and Heritage Language Education in Canada: Policies, Contexts, and Issues. The Canadian Modern Language Review66(1), 1–8.

Harrison, B. (2000). Passing on the language: Heritage language diversity in Canada. Canadian Social Trends, August 2000, no.58, 14-19.

Lachapelle, R., & Lepage, J.-F. (2010). Languages in Canada: 2006 census. Canadian Heritage.

Ricento, T. (2019). Language Politics and Policies : Perspectives From Canada and the United States. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from

Marmen, L., Corbeil, J.-P., Canada, Canadian Heritage, & Statistics Canada. (2004). Languages in Canada: 2001 census. Canadian Heritage.

Nagy, N. (2021). Heritage Languages in Canada. In S. Montrul & M. Polinsky (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Heritage Languages and Linguistics (Cambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics, pp. 178-204). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781108766340.010 (Not accessible but check references.)

Statistics Canada. (2017, August 2). Census in Brief: Linguistic diversity and multilingualism in Canadian homes

Statistics Canada. (2018, February 21). The evolution of language populations in Canada, by mother tongue, from 1901 to 2016

Statistics Canada. (2020, August 4). Interpreting and presenting census language data


Community resources for heritage languages in Canada