98.3% of Dorset’s residents aged 3 and over have recorded English as their main language in the 2011 Census. This contrasts with a figure of 92% for England and Wales. For 6,634 residents in Dorset, English is not their first language. Where English is not the main language spoken 78 other languages feature across the County as resident’s main language, some in very small numbers.
Where English is not the main language spoken, Polish is recorded with the next highest number 1,457 in Dorset, followed by German 429, all other Chinese 344 and Nepalese 292.
Residents with Polish as their main language are distributed across the County, however, concentrations exist in Melcombe Regis in Weymouth and also in North Dorset particularly the wards of Gillingham, Motcombe and Ham, Shaftesbury Grosvenor and Milton.
Residents with German as their main language are also distributed across the County, with small concentrations based around wards with military establishments.
Residents with Nepalese as their main language are highly concentrated in and around Blandford Military Camp where the Gurkhas and their families are based.
Residents with ‘all other Chinese’ as their main language are concentrated in relatively small numbers in Weymouth town centre and in wards with Private educational establishments.
Where English is not recorded as the resident’s main language, levels of proficiency in English are relatively high with 85% of those residents speaking English either very well or well. The other 15% either cannot speak English well or at all.
Of those in England who do not have English as their main language (or English and Welsh in Wales), 79% could speak English very well or well, not quite as high as the figure for Dorset (85%).
The second most reported main language nationally after (English or English & Welsh in Wales) was Polish (one per cent, 546,000), followed by Panjabi (half of one per cent, 273,000) and Urdu (half of one per cent, 269,000). In contrast to the national picture Panjabi and Urdu are the main languages for only sixty people in Dorset.
For more information please contact:Nicola Dench
Source: 2001 & 2011 Census, Office for National Statistics