Languages spoken at homes in Red Deer may range from Spanish to Cantonese but language has not divided the city, says an spokesperson with Central Alberta Refugee Effort.
Last week, the federal government released 2016 census data on families, households, marital status, and language.
The results show Tagalog (Filipino) is the non-English language most often spoken in Red Deer homes, followed by Spanish, Slavic languages like Ukrainian and Russian, Indo-Iranian languages like Farsi and Punjabi, Chinese languages like Cantonese and Mandarin, Arabic and French.
Frank Bauer, executive director of Central Alberta Refugee Effort (CARE), said one of the good things about Red Deer is that it doesn’t have a Chinatown or Little Italy where English is hardly ever spoken.
“There’s a Syrian community in Calgary. If you don’t want to learn any English, you’re perfectly OK there,” Bauer said.
“We don’t have that in Red Deer. I hope it will never grow that way because that’s not good for people to become Canadian.”
He said English language classes are always in demand at CARE, and this week the federal government approved funding to increase the number of classes starting in September.
“We’re going to add six more classes every day, growing from 16 to 22 on a daily basis.”
He said classes will be available to about 80 more people. At present time, the program serves about 200.
Classes are available to permanent residents and run in the morning, afternoon and late afternoon.
Other census data show the average size family in Red Deer has 2.9 people. Family size was broken down as follows:
Two people – 13,905
Three people – 5,740
Four people – 5, 175
Five or more people – 2,370
The number of lone parents families was 4,715. Of those 3,770 were female parents and 945 were male parents.
Couple families included 18,155 married couples and 4,325 common-law couples. There were 11,035 couples without children and 11,445 with children. Among couples with children 4,390 had one child, 4,800 had two children and 2,255 had three or more.