December 18, 2011

Census Report: Arizona Has the Most Speakers of American Indian Languages


The U.S. Census Bureau on December 8th released findings from the American Community Survey — the most relied-on source for detailed, up-to-date socio-economic statistics covering every community in the nation every year — for the combined years from 2006 to 2010.

Consisting of about 11 billion individual estimates and covering more than 670,000 distinct geographies, the five-year estimates give even the smallest communities timely information on more than 40 topics, such as educational attainment, income, occupation, commuting to work, language spoken at home, nativity, ancestry and selected monthly homeowner costs.

Sixty-five percent of Native North American language speakers lived in just three states, Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Nine counties within these states contained half the nation's Native American language speakers. Apache County in Arizona had 37,000 speakers of a Native American language, making it the highest in the nation. McKinley County, N.M., had the second most speakers at 33,000. Together, about 20 percent of all Native American language speakers in the nation lived in these two counties.

The most commonly spoken Native North American language was Navajo, with more than 169,000 people speaking this language nationally. The number of Navajo speakers was nearly nine times larger than the second and third most commonly spoken languages of Yupik and Dakota, with each having about 19,000 speakers. Although the majority of Native North American language speakers resided in an American Indian and Alaska Native area, only 5 percent of people living in an American Indian and Alaska Native area spoke a Native North American language.

Read the Census Bureau’s press release at
Download the Bureau’s summary of Native North American languages spoken at home 2006-2010 from
Read related news article and blog posts at ; ; and

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