Language campaigners call for action to reverse the decline of Welsh speakers in Ceredigion
Welsh Language campaigners have challenged Ceredigion Council over the decline in Welsh speakers recorded in the 2021 Census results.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the percentage of Welsh speakers in the county fell from 47.3% in 2011 to 45.3% in 2021.
In 2021, there were around 3,300 fewer Welsh-speaking Ceredigion residents (over the age of three years) compared with 2011.
Ceredigion also recorded the largest population decline in Wales over the last 10 years at 5.9% according to the Census, and the average age of residents increased by five years, from 42 to 47 years of age.
At an open meeting yesterday attended by the council leader Bryan Davies and other members of the cabinet, Cymdeithas yr Iaith urged the council to move to work through the Welsh language, to ensure that the county’s children receive education through the Welsh language and to use new powers to tackle second homes and holiday homes.
Tamsin Davies on behalf of Cymdeithas yr Iaith in Ceredigion said: “Ceredigion saw the biggest drop in population in Wales over the last decade, and figures show that it is mainly young people that are leaving the county.
“There are many reasons for this – lack of job opportunities, lack of affordable housing and cuts to services. People in power, who create and set policy, need to take responsibility for tackling this.
“We were therefore pleased that the members of the council’s cabinet and the leader of the council were there to hear and to contribute.”
According to the census data, the percentage of people able to speak Welsh decreased in all local authorities except Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil between 2011 and 2021.
Overall, Carmarthenshire saw the largest decrease in Welsh speakers, with a fall from 43.9% in 2011 to 39.9% in 2021, a fall of 4.1 percentage points.
Carmarthenshire had also recorded the largest decline between the 2001 and 2011 Census.
Ms Davies added: “The meeting was the starting point, and it will be the basis for Cymdeithas’ campaigns in the county and an opportunity for us to work with the county’s communities to prevent a further fall in the number of Welsh speakers and communities.
“But we have set a challenge to the County Council as well – to respond positively to the results of the Census by addressing the issues raised today.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.