Nearly one-third of the 167,815 people in the Abbotsford-Mission census metropolitan area - 27 per cent - speak a non-official language in the home, according to the latest census data.
Figures show Punjabi accounted for more than half - 60 per cent - of the overall population speaking an immigrant language in the two communities.
The vast majority of residents, 70 per cent, speak English as a mother tongue but Punjabi is the top immigrant language used by 17 per cent of the total population in Abbotsford and Mission combined.
Francois Nault, Statistics Canada director of the social and aboriginal division, said the use of Punjabi has risen steadily in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA since the last census.
The number of people using Punjabi as a mother tongue has increased by 21 per cent, with 28,000 reported in the 2011 census, up from 23,000 in 2006.
Most of that group, 95 per cent, speak Punjabi regularly at home.
"Some people may be raising kids in their youth with Punjabi as the mother tongue, but the main driver for growth in that language is immigration," said Nault.
German, which lags far behind Punjabi, was the second highest immigrant language with 6,600 people, or four per cent of the total population, speaking it as their mother tongue.
Dutch was third with 1,700 people, or one per cent of the population, speaking the language.
Korean, Spanish and Tagalog, a language of the Philippines, were next, but overall they made up a very small percentage of the overall population in Abbotsford and Mission.
Across Canada the top 10 immigrant languages spoken most often at home were Punjabi, Chinese (which language was not specified), Cantonese, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, Mandarin, Italian, Urdu and German. Nine out of 10 Canadians who reported speaking an immigrant language at home lived in large urban areas.
The majority, 80 per cent, live in Vancouver, Toronto, MontrŽal, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa-Gatineau.
Bilinguilism is on the rise in Canada, but not necessarily in both official languages.
Close to two-thirds, 64 per cent, of the Canadian population whose mother tongue wasn't an official language reported speaking English at home.
In Vancouver, 31 per cent of the total population reported speaking an immigrant language at home. Of that population, Punjabi was the most spoken at 18 per cent, followed by Cantonese at 16 per cent, a non-specified Chinese language at 12 per cent, Mandarin at 12 per cent and Tagalog at seven per cent.
In B.C., 70 per cent of the population reported English as a mother tongue, and 26.5 per cent reported only a non-official language.
The national average is 56.9 per cent and 19.8 per cent, respectively.
- with a file from the Vancouver Sun