The vast majority of us — about 80 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — speak English at home. But we are a polyglot society in which big pockets of non-English speakers dot the national landscape. Our good friends at @MetricMaps have put together a cool gif that shows where the highest concentrations of English, Spanish, Indo-European and Asian languages are spoken around the country.
English speakers by county (Note: Click any map for a larger version)
Almost 13 percent of Americans over 5 years of age, a total of 37 million of us, speak Spanish at home. Not surprisingly, Spanish speakers are concentrated near the U.S. border in counties in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Spanish speakers by county
Indo-European speakers represent a much smaller percentage, but they’re concentrated in and around New Orleans and in some counties in the Northeast, where French can be common (especially in Louisiana and Maine) and immigrant communities of Italians, Germans and others flourish. Asian and Pacific Islander languages are most heavily present in Hawaii and big West Coast cities such as Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Indo-European language speakers by county
Asian-Pacific island language speakers by county
Native American languages are still widely spoken in a few areas west of the Mississippi. Several counties in the Four Corners region are dominated by Navajo speakers; a handful of counties in South Dakota, where several Sioux tribes live still speak native languages at home; and rural Alaska boroughs are represented on that map.
Other languages spoken by county
Put them altogether and here’s what the Metric Maps graphics wizards came up with:
Last year, The Washington Post’s graphics team put together their own cool map of households where English isn’t the first language. Here’s what that map looks like: