Welsh in the Vale

It’s common knowledge by now that the Vale of Glamorgan is one of only four local authorities in Wales to register an increase in numbers of those speaking Welsh between 2001 and 2011 (you can grab hold of tonnes of data from this site, although if you want a relatively handy series of maps and graphs you might like to try the Welsh Government’s statistics publication). Over the ten year period, the numbers increased from 12,994 to 13,189, a total of 195. However, as a result of an increase in population in the Vale, the overall percentage of bilinguals has decreased – from 11.3% to 10.8%.

We can be thankful that the number of bilinguals in the Vale is increasing, although at less than 20 per year it’s hardly stellar progress. But it would seem unavoidable that as time goes by that number will increase by a greater amount. And here’s the evidence, in the form of the proportion of each age group speaking Welsh:

  • 3-4      – 16.7%
  • 5-9      – 28.5%
  • 10-14 – 35.0%
  • 15-19 – 23.3%
  • 20-24 – 10.6%
  • 25-29 –   8.7%
  • 30-34 –   8.5%
  • 35-39 –    7.8%
  • 40-44 –  6.5%
  • 45-49 –  6.0%
  • 50-54 –  5.0%
  • 55-59 –  4.8%
  • 60-64 – 4.4%
  • 65-69 –  5.2%
  • 70-74 –  5.0%
  • 75-79 –  4.2%
  • 80-84 – 4.4%
  • 85+     –  5.6%
  • Total – 10.8%

Now, we’d expect some attrition of bilinguals in their young twenties for a period of time, not least because bilingual education in the Vale is a strong indicator of educational attainment, so these bright young things will move away from the Vale to find their fame and fortune in the bright lights of Cardiff, Llanelli and who knows, even beyond!

But some of the pupils in receipt of bilingual education will find that living in the Vale suits them just fine and will remain, slowly bolstering the proportion of bilinguals in successive years. And that’s exactly the pattern we see in these statistics, because the proportion of those who speak Welsh of ages 25-39 is some way above those in the older categories, when Welsh medium education was either non-existent, or was only available by virtue of a commute to Glantaf.

The proof of the pudding? Have a look at the stats in 2022 and make comments on this post! The only caveat is in relation to the increase in population. Large new housing developments will lead to in-migration of people who will almost exclusively not be Welsh-speaking. An additional 45,400 dwellings in Cardiff is hardly likely to strengthen the performance of that county’s Welsh language stats.

But where does the Vale sit in the Welsh scheme of things?

It might be difficult to believe, but that small increase in total bilinguals has enabled the Vale to leapfrog both Bridgend and Newport, leaving the Vale in 16th place for total numbers of people able to speak Welsh. And it just so happens that we’re in 16th place in the league table for proportion of people speaking Welsh.

I’ll leave the discussion as to the wider impacts of the Wales-wide decrease in bilingualism to the specialists. But it’s good to see that here in the Vale we’ve bucked the trend. By 19.5 people per year.

3 Sylw

Filed under Education, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Welsh Government

3 responses to “Welsh in the Vale

  1. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: In-migration to the Vale | penartharbyd

  2. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Where Can I Find Bilinguals? | penartharbyd

  3. Hysbysiad Cyfeirio: Torfaen Syndrome | penartharbyd

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