Thursday, 10 March 2011

How many Welsh Speakers are there?

It seems people in England are perplexed when opening their census forms and seeing this

Of course we in Wales see what the Question  should have been.

I am assuming the question refers to Gaelic use in Scotland and Irish in Northern Ireland?

It seems to me that it would have been cheaper and more interesting if the question(s) were to be asked throughout  the UK.

I know a number of Welsh speakers of varying degrees living in England . In 1993, S4C,published the results of a survey into the numbers of people who spoke or understood Welsh, which estimated that there were around 133,000 Welsh-speakers living in England, about 50,000 of them in the Greater London area.

If we are ro have a census of Welsh language speakers then it would be interesting how many are there outside Wales nd if the C figures are close then it greatly increases the numbers who speak the language.

Why are the census compilers prepared to look ridiculous by not asking a question which may be of some use.

that is if you think this expensive form of data collection is of any use anyway.


  1. Because Welsh is a foreign language in England. There are far more speakers of other languages here why don't have a similar question - Welsh should not come above those.

  2. Anon: 18:55
    I'm afraid you missing the point of my argument if you looked at the Census form for England Question 17 is left Blank.

    Wouldn't it be easier to include the question than printing separate questionnaires.

    I do agree entirely that Welsh is a foreign language in England but this is supposed to be a UK Census and Welsh is Not a foreign language in the UK and it is a UK wide census,

  3. To be pedantic it is an England and Wales census. Since 1801 Scotland and Ireland (and since 1931 Northern Ireland) have always had separate censuses.

    The 2001 and 2011 Census have been devolved to the Scottish Parliament and NI Assembly.

  4. Thanks Alwyn. I don't think making an important correction is being pedantic.

    Perhaps it would be interesting to see whether the questions in Scotland differ to any major degree?

    Do they ask (Question 27) If a job had been available last week ,could you have started it within two week?

    Which with other questions looks at designed to add weight to Government welfare policies.

  5. Actually it is more pertinent for the government to know whether residents of England speak or understand any of the other native British languages rather than 'foreign' languages. The reason being is that public money is spent on public broadcast services in Welsh and Gaelic and the government should have accurate information on the size and locations of the audiences of these services.

    I'm English, living in England but I frequently listen to Radio Cymru and watch S4C and I'm sure I'm not the only one as I've met quite a few Welsh speakers around Derbyshire and Cheshire.