Census Map Shows U.S. Language Use

     (CN) – Sixty million U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home, 37 million of them Spanish, the Census Bureau said in a new report that includes an interactive online map displaying the languages spoken across the nation.
     The Census Bureau, which periodically publishes results of its statistics, designed the map to show where the speakers of 15 languages live, including those who reported that they speak English less than “very well.”
     The Census Bureau, which collected the information from community surveys, said the map can be used for businesses to plan marketing campaigns, and for emergency responders, schools and libraries to plan for their own and their communities’ language needs.
     Languages tracked on the map are Spanish, French, French Creole, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, Polish, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog and Arabic.
     Users can select a language and see where its speakers live, with each dot on the map representing about 100 people who speak it. Zooming in shows dots representing 10 speakers. The dots were randomly placed within census tracts to protect the confidentiality of speakers, the Census Bureau said.
     Here are some highlights from the report , “Language Use in the United States: 2011.”
     Of the 60.6 million people who spoke a language other than English at home in 2011, 39.7 million said they spoke Spanish.
     The next most-frequent languages were
     Chinese – 2.9 million
     Tagalog – 1.6 million
     Vietnamese – 1.4 million
     French – 1.3 million (plus 754,000 who speak French Creole)
     Korean – 1.1 million
     German – 1.1 million
     Arabic – 951,700
     Russian – 906,000.
     Also, 364,000 people reported speaking Native American languages – 169,400 of them Navajo; 724,000 people speak Italian; 649,000 speak Hindi; 607,500 speak Polish; 885,000 speak “African languages,” and 161,000 speak Yiddish.
     All figures refer to the number of people who said they speak the languages at home.
     From 1980 to 2010, the number of people speaking other than English at home increased by 158 percent, compared with a 38 percent population increase of people 5 years or older.
     Vietnamese speakers increased the most in that time – sevenfold – while Spanish speakers posted the largest numerical gain – 25.9 million.
     Speakers of Italian, German, Polish, Greek and Yiddish declined in those 30 years.
     California had the highest percentage of people who speak a language other than English at home – 44 percent. West Virginia had the lowest percentage, just 2.
     Eighty percent or more of French and German speakers said they speak English “very well.” Fewer than 50 percent of Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean speakers said they spoke English very well. Fifty-six percent of Spanish speakers said they spoke English very well.

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