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Data Provider: Welsh Government National Statistics Annual Population Survey - Ability to read, write and understand spoken Welsh by age, sex and year
Welsh Skill[Filter]
Sex 1
Age 1
[Collapse]Read Welsh[Collapse]Write Welsh[Collapse]Understand spoken Welsh
[Collapse]TotalClick here to sortTotal[Collapse]TotalClick here to sortTotal[Collapse]TotalClick here to sortTotal
Click here to sortFemaleClick here to sortMaleClick here to sortFemaleClick here to sortMaleClick here to sortFemaleClick here to sortMale
TotalAge 3-1589.585.587.587.883.785.7108.1102.9105.5
Age 16-2479.569.474.381.164.272.395.378.186.4
Age 25-3449.945.647.747.843.445.662.555.659.0
Age 35-4447.038.042.641.234.637.961.754.358.1
Age 45-5451.135.743.643.732.238.168.951.060.1
Age 55-6440.130.135.333.625.529.757.846.452.3
Age 65+39.632.636.432.827.630.354.947.251.3



People aged 3 or older who say they can read, write and understand spoken Welsh, by age and sex

Last update

27 July 2023 27 July 2023

Next update

October 2023

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

General description

This dataset provides information for people aged 3 or older who say they can read, write and understand spoken Welsh, by age and sex

Data collection and calculation

Since mid- March 2020, the APS has been conducted through telephone interviews instead of face-to-face interviews as a result of 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. More information about the reasons and methodology can be found on the ONS website (link).

By comparing those who completed the survey over the telephone with those 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 is 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

2004 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.


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.