2021 Census results on the Welsh language

In response to the publication of the 2021 Census figures on the Welsh language, Mentrau Iaith Cymru are calling on the Welsh Government to redouble their efforts to increase the use of Welsh within communities.

This comes after the Census showed the number of Welsh speakers falling to 538,000 and down to 17.8 per cent of the population, and a decline of more than 20,000 in the number of 3-15 year-olds able to speak the language.

“The Census figures are obviously a disappointment, and they also highlight the wide range of challenges facing different parts of Wales”, said Dewi Snelson, Chair of Mentrau Iaith Cymru.

“That is why practical action on the ground is crucial as we seek specific solutions, along with a clear understanding of the varying needs of different communities.

“Whilst ambitious long-term ambitions are fine, we also need to set practical targets at a local level, as it is clear that dealing with Wales as a single linguistic unit is not going to work.

“In addition to increasing the opportunities and encouragement to use the language socially, we need to work together to seek economic solutions to those communities that are under threat.

“As organisations that are deeply rooted in communities throughout Wales, the Mentrau Iaith have a key role to play. We have already developed a unique expertise in this respect, and it is crucial that we get adequate resources and funding to make a real difference.”

He stressed that census results have not in any way dampened the enthusiasm and commitment of the Mentrau Iaith to secure a thriving future for the Welsh language.

“At the end of the day, the extent to which people use the language in their everyday lives is as important as the total of those able to speak it,” he said.

“As well as increasing social activity and opportunities to use Welsh in all parts of Wales, this also calls for dedicated action to stop further decline in those strongholds that remain.

“We as Mentrau Iaith are eager for the challenge and look forward to working alongside the Welsh Government and others towards this aim.”

The statistics that have been published so far can be found on the Welsh Government website. Welsh language in Wales (Census 2021) | GOV.WALES

Welsh Government held a session to publish and discuss the results on the 6th of December. The presentation will be on Welsh Government’s website and the fideo on their YouTube channel.