The number of English-speaking Quebecers is on the increase for the first time in 30 years due to immigration, along with a slowdown in the outflow of Quebec anglophones.

The number has grown by about 5.5 per cent between the censuses of 2001 and 2006, reversing a trend that began in the early 1970s when provincial language policies and a push for Quebec sovereignty prompted many English-speaking residents to move elsewhere.

The influx includes people moving from other provinces, as well as an increase in immigration by English-speaking people from south Asian countries.

CBC News interviewed several families who have made the move.

Steve Clarke and his family moved to Quebec City from Oklahoma and are impressed by the city's safety, its old-world architecture and by what he calls a "benign" government.

"When people move to New York City, other people in New York City don't ask them 'why did you move here?' They just understand — you'd move here because it's a great place to live," he said.

"But people in Quebec, because it's unusual for people who aren't French as a mother language, I guess it's a curiosity," Clarke said.

Carrie-Anne Golden and Ryan Hughes, who moved to Montreal from Vancouver, enjoy the low cost of housing and the city's vibrant, 24-hour lifestyle, but admit cultural change requires some adjustments.

"I think the first few months was sort of the honeymoon phase of everything is wonderful," Golden said. "And the reality of, you know, as an anglophone, you are in a minority in comparison."

"I thought that we would merge in with the cultures a lot quicker," she said. "But it is a little bit harder. There is definitely some inroads to do in merging in with the French culture."

The increase in Quebec's English-speaking population comes as a surprise to Jack Jedwab, a demographer and executive-director of the Association for Canadian Studies.

Jedwab is also surprised by how little attention has been paid to the trend by Quebec's English media, compared with 30-year spotlight they focused on the so-called Anglo Exodus.

"The community psychology is such that it's very accustomed to this erosion," he said. "It has become part of the [anglophone] community's identity. The shock of that demographic decline, it's impact on our institutional life."

Jedwab noted that Quebec's civil service is almost entirely francophone, which can exacerbate the feeling of alienation in the English-speaking community.

He suggested it may be time for anglophones to try to build on their increase in numbers, instead of clinging to the old complaint that they're a disappearing breed.