The 1871 population of Montreal proper—about 133,000—increased some 10-fold in the 20th century, although the pace of metropolitan planning and population growth slowed by century’s end; the regional population continued to increase, however. Immigration from abroad practically ceased during World War I, but a steady flow of people continued from other parts of Canada and from the United States. Although the birth rate among Canadians of French descent dropped markedly, immigration from the Continent reduced the percentage of Montrealers of British descent after World War II. French-speaking citizens account for about two-thirds of the population, with the English-speaking proportion increasingly eroded by immigrants from all over the world. Religious affiliations generally follow ethnic traditions, with Roman Catholicism by far the dominant faith.
On the other hand, newcomers to Montreal quickly learn that English is the more practical tongue, for in Montreal as in most of Canada—except Quebec city and smaller centres of Quebec province—English is the primary language of commerce and industry. The economic upper classes are mostly old Montreal-bred English-speaking families, with a sprinkling of French and others. The middle classes are more mixed, whereas the lower economic stratum continues to be made up mainly of French and Irish Canadians and of new immigrants. Thousands of blacks have immigrated from the United States, most of them settling in the lower part of Montréal-Ouest.
The instabilities of Montreal and of Quebec province as a whole are largely the result of the continuing sociolinguistic separateness of and economic disparity between the two major ethnic groups. Majority political power has been achieved by the French community, but equivalent weight in other areas has been slower to arrive. "Canada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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