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Language Projections: 2010 to 2020

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Presented at the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, Las Vegas, NV, August 20-23, 2011.


Language diversity in the United States has changed rapidly over the past three decades. The use of a language other than English at home increased by 148 percent between 1980 and 2009 and this increase was not evenly distributed among languages. Polish, German, and Italian actually had fewer speakers in 2009 compared to 1980. Other languages, such as Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian, had considerable increases in their use. Using data on the language spoken at home from the American Community Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2008 and 2009 National Population Projections, this paper presents projections of what the population speaking a language other than English might look like in 2020.


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