Fall of 14,000 in number of Welsh speakers ‘shows government can’t rest on their laurels’

Picture by Alan Fryer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, have warned the Welsh government not to “rest on their laurels” after the number of Welsh speakers fell over the last year.

The number of Welsh speakers by September last year was 14,600 (0.7%) fewer than at the same date in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics’ annual population survey.

The Welsh Government have set themselves a target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

According to the Office for National Statistics’ annual population survey the total number of Welsh speakers now equates to 874,600 people, or 29% of the population. In March 2010 731,000 or 25.2% of the populaton could speak Welsh.

 

‘Cuts’

“It’s important to remember that the Census is the benchmark for the million speakers target, as it provides far more comprehensive and reliable figures, but this survey should serve as a warning to the Government and its complacency,” said David Williams, vice-chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

“With her proposed cuts to Welsh language budgets, the Minister Eluned Morgan and her Government are singling out the language for post-Brexit pain.

“There has been virtually no growth in the number of young people in Welsh-medium education over the past decade. On top of that, many Government policies, like promoting universities outside Wales and its focus on promoting extractive transport links, are promoting out-migration from Wales and Welsh-speaking communities.

“One of the answers is a Welsh-medium Education Act that will make teaching through the medium of Welsh the norm in every part of the country.”

According to the annual survey, the highest numbers of Welsh speakers continue to be found in Carmarthenshire (93,400) and Gwynedd (90,300). The highest percentages of Welsh speakers can be found in Gwynedd (76%) and the Isle of Anglesey (67%).

The lowest numbers of Welsh speakers are in Merthyr Tydfil (10,800) and Blaenau Gwent (11,500). The lowest percentages of Welsh speakers are in Bridgend (16%) and Blaenau Gwent (17%).

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Gruff Williams
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Gruff Williams

The simple fact of the matter is demographic change means Welsh is no longer viable as a community language. No one will address this issue.

Gruff Williams
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Gruff Williams

Certainly not Plaid Cymru, who will bang on about climate change, trans rights , Islamophobia etc. Worthy issues, but nothing we can address without a Welsh state. Wales is being subsumed, by population movement. It is not too late, even now, but it needs someone to stand up for our communities: communities that identify themselves as Welsh. This applies not only in Welsh speaking areas, but right across the country. Has anyone been to the north east, Ceredigion, Powys. We (Welsh identifiers) are becoming a minority. Local people in the eastern valleys are now being out priced by Bristolian commuters.… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Wrecsam gradually increasing speakers.

John Brooks
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John Brooks

I am an English immigrant to Cymru and I live in a largely English speaking village in Powys, ond dw i’n dysgu Cymraeg.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

14,600 fewer. Is that due to plague?

A Prophecy is buried in Eglwyseg
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A Prophecy is buried in Eglwyseg

The Cymry know what surviving means.

But none have courage to when only a few even whisper it in the back shadows of pubs under alcohol, quickly hushing such talk. Oh it was just the drink talking, ha ha ha, Mr. Davies. Im not one of those, Sir.

The Finnish Language will survive. They invented the Molotov Cocktail.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Kyllä, Suomi kestää!

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Not kestää, but säilyy!

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

The Welsh Assembly Government have been criminally negligent in not preventing this fall, which is possibly due to mortality rates (not the WAG’s fault, of course) and to the emigration of the young to English and European cities for work that is absent in Wales, except in Cardiff (which must be getting a bit full now). It’s a major task that needs addressing, starting tomorrow morning. Other than funding the learning of the language by Anglophone Welsh adults (a commendable move, and one of Welsh Labour’s few tangible achievements) they seem to have done absolutely nowt. The demand by parents… Read more »

Jonesy
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Jonesy

without sustainable economic development and more in west Wales the language is dead. There wil be no youngsters here soon or Welsh language communties as they are being subsumed by English migrants looking for the good life, white flighters, retirees, well off bespoke artisans, big landowners buying up estates.. The so called Welsh parties don’t give a toss

John Ellis
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John Ellis

Your comment reminds me of the BBC’s Beti George talking on some programme about being invited to a local celebration connected with Ysgol Coed y Bryn, the village near Llandysul where she grew up, and where she went to school at the time that T Llew Jones the writer was head teacher there. If I remember rightly, she said that the organizers had booked a room for the event in a hotel in Newcastle Emlyn. She arrived there as they were finishing off the decorations, and she was immediately struck by the fact that all the conversation, and all the… Read more »

Walter Hunt
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Walter Hunt

I refer readers to the “Chief Statistician’s update: a discussion about the Welsh language data from the Annual Population Survey”(APS) dated 27-3-19 …” the primary purpose of the APS is to provide employment-related statistics….The question on the Welsh language is included for cross analysis purposes, and not to provide a count of the number of people who can speak Welsh……..We are clear that the APS results should not be used to measure progress towards the target of a million Welsh speakers.” More frequent measures than 3 Censuses are required in order to evaluate progress toward the target.

Joe T
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Joe T

Aren’t all transport links extractive?Ok maybe not the train from Carmarthen to Swansea that takes so long you can die of the tedium.

Jim_ie
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Jim_ie

and unless those links are asynchronous then surely they also allow the movement into the country? People who work in Bristol work there for the money and opportunities? why else put up with the pain of the M4 and the creaking rail services? How does Wales encourage the same level of investment from the large companies that work out of the Bristol area or are those extra miles over the bridge really too much to deal with?