Arabic among top five non-official languages spoken in Red Deer

While Tagalog is still the most spoken language in Red Deer, outside of English and French, Arabic made a leap into third place as federal census data outlined the 112 languages spoken in the city.

A City of Red Deer release outlined the top five languages in the city other than Canada’s official languages.

Arabic didn’t even make the top five languages in Red Deer in the last census, 2011. The 2016 federal census said Red Deer had a population of 99,035 people.

In 1986, Red Deer had 15 different non-official languages. By 2011 it was 82 and in 2016 it was 112.

English is still the city’s overwhelmingly mother tongue language with 85.2 per cent of the city, which is down from 88.1 per cent in 2011. The non-official mother tongue languages increased from 11.4 per cent in 2011 to 15 per cent in 2016. A total of 14,480 people reported their mother tongue as something other than English or French.

The top five non-official languages in 2016 were Tagolog, Spanish, Arabic, Ukrainian and Cantonese.

“As our population changes, we respond at the municipal level to ensure we are serving residents’ needs through City programming, services and communications,” said Mayor Tara Veer, in a release. “Our growing community of non-English speaking citizens also underscores our ongoing commitment to build community life for all through our welcoming and inclusive initiatives.”

The Central Alberta Refugee Effort will have 22 daily English language classes starting in September, which can serve about 280 people.

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