In Quebec, an allophone is a resident, usually an immigrant, whose mother tongue or home language is neither English nor French. The term is also sometimes used in other parts of Canada. The term parallels Anglophone and Francophone, which designate people whose mother tongues are English and French, respectively. Note that native speakers of aboriginal languages are generally not treated as allophones.
Allophones constitute an increasing share of the Quebec population and are the main source of population increase in the province, reflecting both increased levels of immigration, declining birthrates among established anglophone and francophone populations, and a shift in immigration from English-speaking countries to Asia and the Americas. In 1971, allophones accounted for 6.6% of the population; by 2001, the numbers had increased to 10.0%. Language groups with Arabic, Spanish and Creole as mother tongues show the greatest growth from 1996 to 2001.
Increasing numbers of allophones choose to speak French at home: about 20.4% of allophones in the province reported that they spoke French most often at home in 2001, compared with 16.6% in 1996 and 15.4% in 1991. Most allophones live in Montreal, Quebec's largest Metropolitan area, drawn by economic opportunities. They tend to migrate out of the province: between 1996 and 2001, over 19,170 migrated to other provinces, a value closely mirroring the 18,810 who migrated to Ontario.