Digital Culture

Language distribution in the US

So the site is, in my not so humble opinion, idealogically flawed…they appear to not be terribly agressive about their professed goal of English as a National language, but it’s still a goal. But the actual data that they present is really fascinating. You can search the US at a ton of levels of granularity: State, County, Metro area, and get all sorts of interesting information about the languages spoken around the country.

For instance…Orange County, North Carolina, where Carrboro and Chapel Hill reside (and where Bets and I moved to TN from) has residents that speak 45 different languages. 45 different languages in one county…ranging from Spanish (5,880 speakers) to Urdu (135 speakers) to Tagalog (115 speakers).

Franklin County, TN, where we currently live? 10 languages, with such interesting ones as Swahili (10 speakers) and Pennsylvania Dutch (105 speakers).

Carter County, KY, where I grew up? 4 languages: English, Spanish, French, German.

The listing for the US as a whole [PDF] is really interesting…I had no idea that Tagalog was the 6th most spoken language in the US.

2 replies on “Language distribution in the US”

Queens Co., in NYC, the most ethnically diverse county in the country has people speaking about 120 languages (there are lots of ties at the end of the list…so I’m estimating). (My home county, San Diego has a similar number, so 120 seems to be about the limit in the USA) That’s pretty impressive.

It’s also impressive that little ole’ Orange Co. has 45!

Thanks for digging up that website….the data they have is rad (although the Ayn Rand quotes, not so much).

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