The Census has published an updated report about what languages are spoken in the United States and the numbers must look like good news to professional translators, because English is less present. The newbies keep their home-country languages and millions speak those languages at home. In fact, the US is 5th largest Spanish-speaking country, a fact which must be cheering for La Raza, but is a sign of cultural fracturing for the national community.
The Census has set up an interactive map that allows the curious reader to explore the modern language universe, e.g. to see how many people speak Arabic around Detroit or Persian in Los Angeles. There is also a written report: Language Use in the United States: 2011.
But the big headlines are about Spanish. According to the 2011 Community Survey, a fifth of US residents speak a language other than English at home (60.6 million) a number which has tripled in the last three decades. Of those 60+ million, two-thirds are Spanish speakers. A Spanish-language density map is shown below.
Nearly 38 Million In U.S. Speak Spanish At Home, Census Says, Fox News Latino, August 07, 2013
Nearly 38 million U.S. residents speak Spanish at home, a stunning increase over the 1980 number of 11 million, according to the U.S. Census.
Spanish-speakers accounted for roughly two-thirds of the nearly 61 million who speak a language other than English at home, the Census report said.
At the same time, proficiency in English seems to be on the rise among Spanish-speakers, with 5.6 percent of this group saying that they speak English “less than very well,” compared with 5.7 percent over the 2005-2011 period.
Overall, the number of people in the United States who speak a foreign language at home has tripled since 1980.
“The study provides evidence of the growing role of languages other than English in the national fabric,” said Camille Ryan, a U.S. Census statistician and the report’s author, in a statement. “Yet, at the same time that more people are speaking languages other than English at home, the percentage of people speaking English proficiently has remained steady.”
After Spanish, Chinese followed by a very distant margin – it is spoken by just under 3 million people.
Other languages whose use at home use has grown significantly over the decades are Vietnamese, Russian, Persian, Armenian, Korean and Tagalog.
Vietnamese saw the highest percentage jump of all the most commonly spoken languages, but Spanish had the largest numerical gain, with nearly 26 million.
Laredo, Texas led metropolitan areas in the percentage – 92 – of residents older than the age of 5 who speak a language other than English at home.
Different parts of the United States showed a wide variety in the speaking of a foreign language at home. For instance, 44 percent of the population in California speaks a language other than English at home, whereas in West Virginia only 2 percent does.