Language situation in the U.S.
You might be surprised that for more than 200 years America have gotten by without declaring English as its official language, despite the fact that it is the de facto national language of the country. It is used for all official documents and pronouncements. By law some documents are printed in multiple languages in areas with large numbers of non-English speakers. As a result of the English Only Movement, 28 states now have English as their official language, including Hawai’i which has two official languages (English and Hawaiian). Other states have not adopted English as their official language. One state (Hawai’i) is officially bilingual, and three states (Louisiana, Maine, and New Mexico) have facto bilingual policies.
|Hawai’i||(English and Hawaiian)|
|American Samoa||English and Samoan|
|Guam||English and Chamorro|
|Northern Mariana Islands||English, Chamorro, Carolinian|
|Puerto Rico||English and Spanish|
The number of people in the United States who speak a language other than English at home has risen 158% over the past three decades, faster than the overall population growth of 38%. 60.6 million, or nearly one in five people aged 5 or older, spoke a language other than English at home in 2011, according to the U.S. 2011 Census Report on language use in the U.S. The data showed that among those who speak a language other than English at home, 37.6 million, or two-thirds, speak Spanish. Chinese was the next most widely spoken language with nearly 2.9 million speakers. Vietnamese, Russian, Persian, Armenian, Korean, and Tagalog have seen their use more than double over the last 30 years. Other languages such as Hindi and Swahili have also experienced significant growth.
Language Use in the United States: 2011
|Population 5 years and older||291.5|
|Spoke only English at home||231|
|Spoke a language other than English at home||60.6|
|Spanish or Spanish Creole||37.6|
|Other Indo-European Languages|
|Other West Germanic Languages||0.3|
|Other Slavic languages||0.3|
|Other Indic languages||0.8|
|Other Indo-European languages||0.5|
|Asian and Pacific Island languages|
|Other Asian Languages||0.9|
|Other languages Pacific Island languages|
|Native American languages|
|Other Native American languages||0.2|
|All other languages||0.1|
To find out where languages other than English are spoken in the U.S, click on the Language Mapper, a tool that shows where there are concentrations of speakers of the language that you are interested in.