Friday, 3 October 2014

Languages Spoken in America

The US Census Bureau released an interactive map that showed the official results of a survey on the languages, other than English, that were spoken in America as first languages in 2011. The report allows us to come to the conclusion that Spanish and Chinese are amongst the most widely spoken languages and that most of the nation is able to speak English, however also has an option to let us see who speaks a different language and speaks English less than 'very well'. To be more specific, 58% of US residents aged 5 and over can speak English 'very well', which leaves 42% unable to do so.

The map, from 2011, demonstrates the absolute diversity in America by showing the wide array of languages spoken there with the map containing fifteen different languages that are used by the citizens of America, other than English. 

By tracking the concentration of other languages spoken we can see that California has the highest percentage of people that speak another language at home, with 44%, and that West Virginia has the lowest, with 2%. This could be down to the fact that California is the third largest state in the USA and is the most populous, with one out of eight people that live in the USA living there, whereas West Virginia is the 41st largest area and the 38th most populous of the 50 United States. This allows for much more diversity in somewhere like California. It could be linked to the California Gold Rush that started in 1848 as it led to dramatic social and demographic change with large scale immigration both from abroad and the U.S., which could still be affecting the population in the modern day.

The Midwest tended to have lower concentrations of different languages spoken, with the exception of Illinois. It could be argued that this statistic has something to do with the fact that a majority of the states in the Midwest are located, at least partly, within the Great Plains region of the country which is known for extensive ranching and agriculture, and therefore aren't so densely populated.

Unfortunately, there was no way to combine this into one picture, so I shall demonstrate the use of the map below by showing the Spanish speakers below, with 12.9% of the U.S speaking it as their primary language, and insert a link to the official map page.

1 dot = 100 people

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