American Ethnic Geography

A Cultural Geography of the United States and Canada

Map Gallery of Language in the United States

Despite the calls from certain groups and the passage of official language laws in several states, the United States does not recognize an official language. Part of the reason for this may lie in the widespread dominance of English. And yet, 18 percent of United states population over the age of 5 speaks a language other than English at home. The 2000 Census provides the latest information on language use, and most of the maps in the following series draw on this data source to illustrate the county-level distribution of languages in the United States. The last map shows state-level language legislation patterns, including English-only adoptions. The maps are in GIF format.

  Non-English Speakers

Leading Non-English Languages

Spanish Speakers

Chinese Speakers

French Speakers

German Speakers

Scandinavian Speakers

Russian Speakers

Native American Speakers

State Language Legislation

The Census Bureau has also prepared a briefs on language use in the United States. This document is in PDF format.

Language Use and English-Speaking Ability: 2000

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Created by JTK. Last revised November 20, 2003.