Baby, are you bilingual? A census-based approach to rates of and types of infant and child bilingualism in Canada

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Description: Adults’ native language is a function of the language(s) that they first encountered as children, making it important to directly study children’s language use. This study used 2016 census data to examine patterns of home language use amongst children aged 0-4 years, focusing on children who use two more more languages at home. While most children across the country use a single language at home,15.7% of children use two or more languages. The highest concentration of bilingual children was in cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, where up to 25% of children are bilingual at home. Rates of child bilingualism in the home are also high in Northern Canada. Use of both official languages is the most common configuration in Quebec (and Ontario) but in other areas children use the dominant official language (English or French) together with a wide variety of other languages.

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