Demographics of New Brunswick

New Brunswick is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces, and the only officially bilingual province (French and English) in the country. The provincial Department of Finance estimates that the province's population in 2006 was 729,997 of which the majority is English-speaking but with a substantial (32%) French-speaking minority of mostly Acadian origin.

First Nations in New Brunswick include the Mi'kmaq and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet). The first European settlers, the Acadians are descendants of French colonists of Acadia, a French colony in what is today Nova Scotia. The Acadians were expelled by the British (1755) for refusing to take an oath of allegiance to King George II which drove several thousand French residents into exile in North America, the UK and France during the French and Indian War. American Acadians, who wound up in Louisiana and other parts of the American South, are often referred to as Cajuns.

Many of the English-Canadian population of New Brunswick are descended from Loyalists who fled the American Revolution. This is commemorated in the province's motto, Spem reduxit ("hope was restored"). There is also a significant population with Irish ancestry, especially in Saint John and the Miramichi Valley. People of Scottish descent are scattered throughout the Province with higher concentrations in the Miramichi and in Campbellton. A small population of Danish origin may be found in New Denmark in the northwest of the province.


City Metropolitan Areas

City 2011 2006 Land Area km² Density /km²
Greater Moncton138,644126,4242,406.3157.6
Greater Saint John127,761122,3893,362.9538.0
Greater Fredericton94,26885,6884,886.4019.3
Greater Bathurst33,48434,1062,292.8014.6
Greater Miramichi28,11528,7737,578.303.7
Greater Edmundston21,90322,471916.8523.9
Greater Campbellton17,84217,8781,629.9410.9

Cities and towns

TownPopulation (2011)Population RankingLand Area km²Area RankingDensity /km²Density Ranking
Grand Bay–Westfield5,1171759.86985.533
Grand Falls5,7061418.0520315.913
Saint Andrews1,889288.3533226.219
Saint John70,0631315.821221.820
St. George1,5433016.132195.632
St. Stephen4,8171913.4524358.011

Population of New Brunswick since 1851

Year Population Five Year
% change
Ten Year
% change
Rank Among

Source: Statistics Canada [1][2]

Ethnic origin

Ethnic Origin Population Percent
English Canadian / Canadien 415,810 57.78%
French 193,470 26.8%
English 165,235 22.96%
Irish 135,835 18.87%
Scottish 127,635 17.73%
German 27,490 3.82%
Acadian 26,220 3.64%
First Nations 23,815 3.31%
Dutch (Netherlands) 13,355 1.86%
Welsh 7,620 1.06%
Italian 5,610 0.78%
Métis 4,955 0.69%
American (USA) 3,925 0.55%
Danish 3,390 0.47%

The information at the left is from Statistics Canada [3] Percentages add to more than 100% because of dual responses e.g. "Danish-Canadian" generates an entry in both the category "Danish" and the category "Canadian". Groups with more than 3,000 responses are included.

Visible minorities and Aboriginals

Visible minority and Aboriginal population (Canada 2006 Census)
Population groupPopulation% of total population
European Canadian688,65595.7%
Visible minority group
South Asian1,9600.3%
Chinese Canadian2,4500.3%
Black Canadians4,4550.6%
Latin American7200.1%
Southeast Asian4450.1%
West Asian5500.1%
Visible minority, n.i.e.1500%
Multiple visible minority4550.1%
Total visible minority population13,3451.9%
Aboriginal group
First Nations12,3851.7%
Aboriginal, n.i.e.7100.1%
Multiple Aboriginal identity1000%
Total Aboriginal population17,6502.5%
Total population719,650100%


Knowledge of official languages of Canada in New Brunswick[6]
Language Percent
English only
French only
English and French
Neither English nor French

Compared to other provinces, New Brunswick has a relatively even split of French and English population. As a comparison, the minority language communities of Ontario and Quebec (Franco-Ontarians and English-speaking Quebecers respectively) make up less than 10% of those provinces' populations.[7] With both official language communities so strongly represented, New Brunswick is home to both French and English language hospitals and healthcare networks, school systems, universities, and media. The province also has a relatively high proportion of people who state that they can speak both official languages, with about 246,000 people, or 33.2% of the population reporting the ability to speak both English and French (though Francophones make up two-thirds of those who are bilingual).[8]

Language policy remains a perennial issue in New Brunswick society and politics. Recurring debates have arisen in regards to interpretation of the provincial bilingualism policy, duality (the system of parallel French and English speaking public services), and specifics of implementation. The extent of the provincial policy on bilingualism means that a new row is never far off in the New Brunswick news cycle.[9][10] The French-speaking community continues to advocate for full funding of French-language public services and fair representation in public sector employment, while some Anglophones (and Francophones) fear that the system of duality is financially inefficient and its extent is not worthwhile, or that the provincial governments targets for bilingualism in public employment are hurting their chances to work for the government, as Anglophones are less likely than Francophones to be proficient enough in both official languages to use them in employment.

The province's bilingual status is enshrined in both provincial and federal law. The Canadian Constitution makes specific mention of New Brunswick's bilingual status and defines the spirit of implementation as one based on both community and individual rights (in contrast with the constitutional protections for the other provinces that is limited to individuals, though this extends to "community" issues in terms of provision of schooling etc.). The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has a number of New Brunswick specific articles and makes specific mention of New Brunswick in each section relating to language (ex. Section 18 has two paragraphs, the first regarding bilingual publication of the Canadian Parliaments work and laws, the second specifying that New Brunswick's legislature will publish its work in both French and English). Of particular interest is Article 16.1, which declares that the French and English speaking communities of New Brunswick have equal rights and privileges, including community specific educational and cultural institutions. This specific distinction of linguistic community is important in that it recognizes not only the rights of individuals to use their language, but also demands that the two official language communities have their specific institutions upheld.

The 2011 Canadian census showed a population of 751,171. Of the 731,855 single responses to the census question concerning mother tongue, the most commonly reported languages were:[11]

New Brunswick's official languages are shown in bold. Figures shown are for the number of single-language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses. During the 19th century Scottish Gaelic was also spoken in the Campbellton and Dalhousie area. The language died out as a natively-spoken language in the province in the early 20th century.

In 2012, New Brunswick francophones scored lower on the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies than their anglophone counterparts in New Brunswick.[12]

The 2011 Canadian census showed a population of 751,171. Of the 731,855 singular responses to the question concerning mother tongue the most commonly reported languages were:

Ranking Language Population Percentage
1. English 479,930 65.58%
2. French 233,530 31.90%
3. Algonquian languages 2,125 0.29%
Mi'kmaq 2,115 0.29%
Cree language 10 0.001%
4. Chinese 1,825 0.25%
Mandarin 405 0.06%
Cantonese 225 0.03%
Taiwanese 5 0.001%
5. Korean 1,810 0.25%
6. German 1,805 0.25%
7. Arabic 1,325 0.18%
8. Spanish 1,135 0.16%
9. Dutch (Nederlands) 925 0.13%
10. Tagalog 585 0.08%
11. Hindustani 455 0.06%
Hindi 250 0.03%
Urdu 205 0.03%
12. Persian 450 0.06%
13. Italian 440 0.06%
14. Romanian 420 0.06%
15. Russian 355 0.05%
16. Vietnamese 285 0.04%
17. Serbo-Croatian languages 280 0.04%
Serbian 120 0.02%
Croatian 75 0.01%
Bosnian 40 0.01%
18. Polish 255 0.03%
19. Scandinavian languages 235 0.03%
Danish 145 0.01%
Norwegian 45 0.01%
Swedish 45 0.01%
20. Portuguese 220 0.03%
21. Bantu languages 200 0.03%
Swahili 140 0.02%
22. Bengali 180 0.02%
23. Hungarian (Magyar) 155 0.02%
24. Greek 140 0.02%

Note: "n.i.e.": not included elsewhere

There were also 45 single-language responses for Gujarati; 135 for Niger-Congo languages n.i.e.; 70 for Creole; 95 for Non-verbal languages (Sign languages); 115 for Japanese; 30 for Indo-Iranian languages n.i.e.; 5 for Somali; 20 for Sinhala (Sinhalese); and 40 for Malayalam. New Brunswick's official languages are shown in bold. (Figures shown are for the number of single language responses and the percentage of total single-language responses.)[11]



The 2006 Canadian census counted a total of 28,395 immigrants living in New Brunswick.
The most commonly reported origins for these immigrants were: [13]

1. United States 8,660
2. United Kingdom 5,205
3. Germany 1,770
4. Netherlands 995
5. China 925
6. India 600
7. Italy 405
8. South Korea 370
9. former Yugoslavia 355
10. Philippines 350
11. France 320
12. Iran 265
13. Lebanon 220
14. Pakistan 205

There were also 195 immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo; 180 from Vietnam; 170 from Colombia; 165 each from Hungary and Romania; 155 each from Belgium and El Salvador; 140 each from Greece and Ireland (Éire); 125 from Poland; 120 each from Afghanistan and South Africa; 115 from Ukraine; 110 from Guyana; 105 each from Denmark and from Trinidad and Tobago; and 100 from Austria.

Internal migration

A total of 64,205 people moved to New Brunswick from other parts of Canada between 1996 and 2006 while 83,240 people moved in the opposite direction. These movements resulted in a net outmigration of 8,410 people to Alberta, 4,330 to Ontario, 2,930 to Nova Scotia, and 1,995 to Quebec. During this period there was a net outmigration of 2,125 francophones to Quebec, 1,460 francophones going to Ontario, 1,355 to Alberta and 145 to Nova Scotia; and also a net influx of 240 anglophones from Quebec. (All net inter-provincial movements of more than 500 persons and official minority movements of more than 100 persons are given.)[14][15]


Main Religious Denominations in New Brunswick[16][17]
2001 20111
Total Population719,715100735,835100
- Total Catholic2386,03553.6366,15549.8
- Total Protestant260,69536.2249,82034.0
- Baptist80,49011.270,9909.6
- United Church of Canada69,2359.654,2707.4
- Anglican Church of Canada58,2108.151,3657.0
- Pentecostal20,1502.818,4352.5
- Protestant, Other324,2002.645,9106.2
- Presbyterian6,9001.07,7701.1
- Lutheran1,5100.210800.1
- Christian Orthodox45650.19800.1
No Religious Affiliation56,4407.8111,43515.1
- Muslim1,2750.22,6400.4
- Other Religions51,9700.31,9150.3
- Jewish6700.16200.1
- Buddhist5450.19750.1
- Hindu4750.18200.1
- Aboriginal Spirituality3600.15250.1

1 The 2011 data is from the National Household Survey[17] and so numbers are estimates.
2Includes Roman Catholic and Ukrainian Catholic
3 Includes persons who report only "Protestant" and those who report "Christian", and those who report "Apostolic", "Born-again Christian" and "Evangelical" and those who report from all Protestant denominations with less than 0.05% of the population including those who report "Christian Reformed Church and those who report "Methodist" and those who report "Mennonite" and those who report "Christian Missionary Alliance" and those who report "Brethren in Christ" and those who report "Evangelical Missionary Church"
4 Includes persons who report "Orthodox". Also includes Greek Orthodox, Ukrainian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Bulgarian Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and Macedonian Orthodox
5 Includes persons who report all Religions with less than 0.05% of the population including Pagan, Wiccan and Sikh as well as persons who report only "non-denominational".

See also

Demographics of Canada's provinces and territories


  1. Population urban and rural, by province and territory (New Brunswick) Archived 2006-12-31 at the Wayback Machine. Statistics Canada, 2005.
  2. Canada's population Archived November 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Statistics Canada. Last accessed September 28, 2006.
  3. Ethnic Origin (232), Sex (3) and Single and Multiple Responses (3) (2001 Census)
  4. Brunswick&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=, Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Province/Territory
  5. Brunswick&SearchType=Begins&SearchPR=01&B1=All&Custom=, Aboriginal Population Profile from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Province/Territory
  6. "Census Profile, 2016 Census - New Brunswick [Province] and Nova Scotia [Province] - Language". Statistics Canada. 9 August 2019. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  7. Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics. "Population by mother tongue, by province and territory, excluding institutional residents (2011 Census) (New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario)". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  8. "2014–2015 Annual Report, Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of New Brunswick" (PDF). p. 39.
  9. "New Brunswick still debating language issues after 50 years of bilingualism | Toronto Star". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  10. "Liberals, PCs show fissures over bilingualism controversy". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  11. Detailed Mother Tongue (186), Knowledge of Official Languages (5), Age Groups (17A) and Sex (3) (2011 Census)
  12. "Study: The literacy skills of New Brunswick francophones". Statistics Canada. 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-09-21.
  13. Immigrant Status and Period of Immigration (8) and Place of Birth (261) (2006 Census)
  14. Province or Territory of Residence 5 Years Ago (14), Mother Tongue (8), Age Groups (16) and Sex (3) (2006 Census) Archived February 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  15. Province or Territory of Residence 5 Years Ago (14), Mother Tongue (8), Age Groups (16) and Sex (3) (2001 census)
  16. "96F0030XIE2001015 - Religions in Canada". Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  17. "NHSNewBrunswick2011". Retrieved 2014-05-17.
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