There has been a big shift in the languages people are speaking in Charlottetown, census numbers released Wednesday reveal.

The city is still predominately English, but the number of residents reporting English as their mother tongue has dropped below 90 per cent.

The number of mother-tongue English speakers has grown, but the percentage of them in the population has fallen in the face of Asian immigration. Residents reporting one of the Chinese languages as their mother tongue rose to 3.7 per cent in 2011 from just 0.3 per cent in 2006.

The census numbers show Asian immigration is largely a Charlottetown phenomenon. The numbers of Islanders reporting mother tongues that are not English or French were small outside of Charlottetown and neighbouring communities.

Since the last census the province has attracted thousands of immigrants through the immigrant investor section of the Provincial Nominee Program.

Linguistic landscape changing in Charlottetown

2006 2011
# of speakers % population # of speakers % population
English 29,385 93.9 29,880 88.9
French 810 2.6 785 2.3
Chinese language 85 0.3 1,255 3.7
Arabic 150 0.5 230 0.7
Persian 15 0 185 0.6
Spanish 120 0.4 140 0.4
Indo-Iranian language 0 0 95 0.3