Dear Glyn

Presentation of statistics on Welsh language use in Cymraeg 2050: Welsh language strategy

I am writing to update you on an enquiry we received about the presentation of Welsh speaking prevalence figures in the Welsh Government’s ‘Cymraeg 2050: Welsh language strategy.’

The enquiry raised concerns about the focus on census results on the number of the Welsh population able to speak Welsh, rather than statistics on Welsh language fluency from the Welsh Language Use Survey (WLUS). It claims this is intentional, as the number of Welsh speakers measured by the census is higher than the number for fluent Welsh speakers measured by the WLUS.

Having reviewed the strategy, we note that it has two main objectives:

  1. to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the population from half a million, to a million by 2050 – as measured by the census
  2. to increase the proportion of the population that speak Welsh daily, and can speak more than just a few words of Welsh, from 10%, to 20% by 2050 – as measured by the WLUS

The strategy notes the central role of the WLUS in measuring the proportion of the Welsh population that speak Welsh daily, and can speak more than a few words of Welsh, and the ‘10%’ figure used in the second objective is taken directly from the WLUS 2013-15 results. A clear justification for the use of the census to monitor the number of Welsh speakers in the population is also provided.

The sources put forward to monitor each objective appear appropriate for their proposed uses. We therefore conclude that the strategy is clear about the separate roles of the census and the WLUS in monitoring the strategy’s objectives, each of which relate to distinct aspects of Welsh language prevalence.

Yours sincerely,

Ed Humpherson

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