Population Problems


The changing proportions of French



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The changing proportions of French
in the Province of Quebec.

The proportion of French origin (i.e. of French ancestry, which is very nearly the proportion French-speaking) in the Province of Quebec increased from 78.0 to 82.0 per cent between 1871 and 1951.

This reflects the relative rates of natural increase of French and non-French, subject to two conflicting limitations : one is that a larger proportion of non-French than French have left the province, from year to year, for other parts of Canada ; the other, that few French are included among the immigrants from abroad who have settled in Quebec. This last limitation does not deserve any proof for it is rather obvious from common experience. The first one can be checked by taking statistics as to origin of people now living in the other Canadian provinces and coming from Quebec. If the same proportion of the French-speaking population as of the English-speaking left Quebec regularly, we would expect that the ratio of the French-speaking to the total population would be the same for the Quebec-born who live in the rest of Canada as for those who have remained in Quebec. But this is not so. Taking Ontario, for example, we note for 1941, that of 104,251 persons born in Quebec, 58,563 were of French origin 1. Although these were more than half, they are a far smaller proportion that the French actually living in Quebec are of the total living in Quebec. Somewhat the same picture is revealed for the provinces west of Ontario.

It is, however, with the way in which the percentage French has varied from one part of the Province of Quebec to another that we are here concerned. The zones already introduced are of use in exhibiting the data on French and English.

The Montreal Plains area which extends south from Montreal increased slightly less in proportion French than the province as a whole, and this applies to the industrial and agricultural subzones separately. Change in the Montreal-Laurentian percentage also showed little deviation from that in the province, but the Eastern Townships show an enormous deviation. The industrial

[70]


TABLE 1

TOTAL AND FRENCH POPULATION OF THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC, BY COUNTIES AND ZONES, 1871 AND 1951









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