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Data Provider: Welsh Government National Statistics Annual Population Survey - Ability to speak Welsh by local authority and year
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Click here to sortAll aged 3 or olderTotal includes those who did not specify whether they could speak Welsh or not.Click here to sortYes, can speak WelshClick here to sortNo, cannot speak WelshClick here to sortPercentage of people who say they can speak WelshThe percentage is calculated based on only those who responded to the question.
WalesIsle of Anglesey69,20041,60027,60060.1
Neath Port Talbot138,20040,30097,90029.2
Vale of Glamorgan125,70037,70087,90030.0
Rhondda Cynon Taf234,00046,600187,40019.9
Merthyr Tydfil58,00014,20043,80024.5
Blaenau Gwent68,0009,40058,70013.7


General description

This dataset provides information for people aged 3 or older who say they can speak Welsh, by Welsh local authority.

Data collection and calculation

The Annual Population Survey switched from face-to-face to phone interviews in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been monitoring the impact this change has had on the survey and as a result have re-weighted the estimates accordingly. Face-to-face interviews were reintroduced in autumn 2023.

By comparing people who completed the survey over the telephone with people who completed the survey face-to-face in the period before March 2020, respondents did appear to be more likely to state that they could speak Welsh when answering the survey over the telephone.

At present, it is not possible to say whether any recent changes in Welsh language ability are as a result of the change in the way the survey is conducted, or real changes in the population’s ability in Welsh. The results should therefore be interpreted with caution.

These data are taken from the Annual Population Survey (APS) datasets for 2005 onwards and the Welsh Local Labour Force Survey (WLLFS) prior to that. These surveys are carried out by the ONS. APS data are collected throughout the year and are published for calendar years. WLLFS data was published for the year ended February, each year i.e. 2001 WLLFS data relates to year ended February 2002. The data don’t exactly match annual averages derived from the four quarterly datasets in each year due to differences in the sampling structure.

The local authority and Wales figures for 2001, 2002 and 2003 in these tables may not be the same as published elsewhere, as the numbers here are estimated using Welsh specific weights. These weights better reflect the population estimates for Welsh local authorities in these years.

Nomis is the ONS's official portal for labour market statistics. Note that some estimates from Nomis for the APS may differ slightly from those presented here due to differences in how local authority geographies are constructed.

Frequency of publication


Data reference periods

2001 to 2023

Rounding applied

Figures are rounded to the nearest 100 and so there may be some apparent slight discrepancies between the sum of constituent items and the totals as shown.


People aged 3 or older who say they can speak Welsh, by Welsh local authority

Last update

18 April 2024 18 April 2024

Next update

Summer 2024

Publishing organisation

Welsh Government

Source 1

Annual Population Survey, Office for National Statistics

Contact email


National Statistics

Lowest level of geographical disaggregation

Local authorities

Geographical coverage


Languages covered

English and Welsh

Data licensing

You may use and re-use this data free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government License - see


Welsh speakers language

Statistical quality

As the data come from a survey, the results are sample-based estimates and therefore subject to differing degrees of sampling variability, i.e. the true value for any measure lies in a differing range about the estimated value. This range or sampling variability increases as the detail in the data increases, for example local authority data are subject to higher variability than regional data.