Kamloops, Okanagan’s largest cities more German than French: Census | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Kamloops, Okanagan’s largest cities more German than French: Census

FILE PHOTO: A scene from the Center of Gravity festival in Kelowna in 2017.

There are more people with German as their mother tongue living in Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon than there are who list French as their mother tongue.

While those cities are overwhelmingly English, Punjabi is identified as the mother tongue of almost as many residents as French, according to new data released by Statistics Canada today, Aug. 17.

At the time of the 2021 census, there were 8,550 residents in the four cities who identified German as their mother tongue compared to 7,745 who listed French and 7,535 who cited Punjabi.

READ MORE: Proportion of French speakers declines nearly everywhere in Canada, including Quebec

The data for Kamloops and Kelowna is for Census Metropolitan Areas, meaning from Logan Lake to Chase and Sun Peaks for Kamloops and the entire Central Okanagan regional district for Kelowna.

These four cities also have far more English language speakers (close to 90%) than the rest of B.C. (70.6%) and Canada as a whole (58.4%).

A person’s mother tongue is defined as the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by that person at the time of the 2021 census.

READ MORE: Number of Indigenous-language speakers drops in Canada: census

In Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton, 0.2% of residents listed an indigenous language as their mother tongue. In the Central Okanagan, only 105 people said the same, which registers on the data tables as 0%.

While there are a wide variety of languages identified as mother tongues in the four cities, only German, French and Punjabi registered at 1% or more of the population.

READ MORE: Census data shows linguistic diversity on the rise in Canada

It breaks down as follows:

KAMLOOPS

English is the mother tongue for 90.2% of Kamloops residents, Punjabi was 1.8%, French was 1.3% and German 1%.

The proportion of people with English as their mother tongue has not changed much over the past decade. In 2011 it was 90.1% and in 2016 it was 90.3%.

KELOWNA

The Central Okanagan was smallest percentage of English speakers of the four cities at 86.4%, with 2.2% German, 1.9% French and 1.8% Punjabi.

That area showed a 0.2% decline in English as the mother tongue from 86.8% for each of the previous two census periods.

PENTICTON

Penticton showed an increase of 0.1% in English speakers to 88.2% in 2021 versus 88.1% in 2016. It had 2.1% listing French as their mother tongue, 1.9% German and 1.8% Punjabi.

VERNON

While Vernon had the highest rate of English speakers of the Okanagan cities at 89.1% it also had the highest proportion of Germans, at 2.6%.

French speakers came in at 1.6% and Punjabi at 1%.

The ratio of people with English as their mother tongue increased 0.2% from 2016.

See the complete data tables here.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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