Linguistic diversity in the U.S: 320 languages spoken; 1 in 5 Americans don’t speak English at home

Quartz reports: Every year, the US Census Bureau releases data on the languages spoken in American homes. Usually it groups the languages in 39 major categories. Now it has released much more detailed figures, which show that Americans speak not 39, but more than 320 distinct languages.

The bureau collected the data from 2009 to 2013 as part of the American Community Survey, which asks Americans all kinds of questions to create highly granular estimates on various demographic indicators. The new data estimate that more than 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home.

Included are 150 Native American languages, as well as relatively obscure ones like Pennsylvania Dutch, Icelandic, Mongolian, and many others. The data estimate that Sudanese, for example, is spoken at home by only 35 Americans. Patwin, spoken by a group of Americans native to northern California, it estimates at just four speakers. [Continue reading…]

There are some anomalies in the data presented here — such as the 12,320 speakers of “African.” That should say: African, not further specified.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email