Modern Language Association “Language Map”

One of the lesser-known resources offered by the Modern Language Association (MLA) is its Language Map. The Language Map mines data from the 2000 and 2005 US Census to give a detailed breakdown of which languages are spoken throughout the United States.

There are several ways to use this resource. One can click on “View the Map” to see an interactive map of the United States. There is a “zoom” tool which allows users to focus on a specific area of the U.S., and a drop down menu to select a language (the default is English). What is displayed is a color-coded graphic that shows the percentage of citizens that speak the language in question in any chosen area of the country. This information is taken from the 2000 U.S. Census.

To a lesser extent, information from the 2005 Census is used in the “Data Center” (accessible by clicking on “Create Detailed Tables” on the Language Map home page) as well as information from the 2000 Census to show demographic trends and changes in the thirty most commonly spoken languages. Using this tool, one can view as broad an area as the “Northeast” or as narrow an area as a zip-code range. The MLA also uses data collected from other its own surveys to make available informati0n on college enrollment in language courses. Survey dates range from 1958 – 2009.

An excellent resource for all kinds of information related to language demographics in the US!


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