Statistics Canada has acknowledged an error in data from the 2016 census that overstated the number of Anglophones living in Quebec.

On Twitter, StatsCan issued a mea culpa, saying a review showed a computer program error caused as many as 61,000 responses to be misclassified.

“We are working diligently to correct the information and publish updated findings next week,” said the statement. “We are also taking steps to further strengthen our quality control procedures.”

Data released last week showed a boom in English speakers in not only Montreal but in heavily Francophone regions of the province such as Rimouski and Shawinigan, drawing criticism for being statistically unlikely. 

Demographer Jack Jedwab told CTV Montreal a week ago that he thought something with the results was wrong (see accompanying video, above).

He informed Statistics Canada of the possible error, triggering the review.

Jedwab said he is glad the federal agency reacted quickly because language is a very touchy issue in Quebec.

"We heard a lot last week of emotion and concern and worries about the condition of French and worries about whether the English comunity was in fact growing or not, so it was important to move very quickly to stem that before further problems, concerns arose that were based on erroneous figures," said Jedwab.

He till wants to see what the adjusted numbers are and what the root cause of the glitch was, and whether or not it affects other figures produced by the census.