Georgia – like the vast majority of states – is incredibly diverse. Immigrants have called the area home long before the United States became a country, and many continue arriving today. As a result, even though English is the official language of the state, many languages are well-represented among its population.
Typically, the languages present within a state reflect immigration patterns over time. Here’s a quick look at the immigration history of Georgia, along with the top ten languages of Georgia (besides English).
Georgia Immigration History
As of the 21st century, Georgia has become one of the most populous states in the nation, though it’s long been incredibly diverse. Settlement predates the arrival of Europeans in the 1500s, as indigenous populations were well-established in the region before that time.
By the 1700s, British settlement was increasing, leading to conflicts with indigenous people as more European settlers came into the area and pressed west. Georgia ultimately evolved into a plantation society, and with that came an increasingly large African slave population.
Immigrants continued to arrive, coming from other parts of the world, including the Mediterranean and Caribbean. While settlers from Northern Britain and Ireland remained a significant part of the influx, the overall population makeup diversified greatly.
During modern times, immigrants from Asia and Central America were increasingly common, though their numbers are small compared to those of European or African descent. Still, this led to a highly diverse landscape, resulting in a wide array of languages being spoken in the state today.
Top 10 Languages of Georgia (Other Than English)
In total, an estimated 14.0 percent of Georgia residents above the age of four speak a language other than English at home. Since the state has a population of just shy of 10.8 million, that calculates out to around 1.5 million people.
While not every member of a household that uses a language other than English at home isn’t relatively fluent in English, having limited English proficiency (LEP) isn’t uncommon among this population. Overall, around 5.73 percent of the population is considered to have LEP, which works out to about 618,815 residents.
As a result, there is a wide array of languages spoken in the state. Here is a list of the top ten languages of Georgia, not including English.
As is the case in the majority of states, Spanish is the most common language other than English spoken in Georgia. Overall, the 781,103 speakers make up nearly 7.92 percent of the population.
Vietnamese is the second most widely spoken non-English language in Georgia, though it comes in well behind Spanish. The estimated 52,832 speakers represent a bit less than 0.54 percent of the population.
Sitting in third place is Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin, with a population share of 0.52 percent. In total, there are around 51,251 Chinese speakers in the state of Georgia.
Representing about 0.49 percent of the population, Korean comes in next. There are an estimated 47,879 Korean speakers living in Georgia.
French (including Cajun) is the fifth most prevalent non-English language spoken in Georgia. There are approximately 36,896 speakers, reaching a population share of a bit more than 0.37 percent.
Yoruba, Twi, Igbo, and other languages of Western Africa come in a little behind French. The estimated 33,742 speakers represent around 0.34 percent of the population.
Hindi is in seventh place, with a population share of about 0.32 percent. In total, there are approximately 31,912 Hindi speakers in the state of Georgia.
Gujarati – which is a language of India – is spoken by approximately 23,356 Georgia residents, giving them a population share of nearly 0.24 percent.
Coming in ninth on this list is German. With an estimated 22,664 German speakers in Georgia, they represent about 0.23 percent of the population.
Rounding out the top ten is Amharic, Somali, and other Afro-Asiatic languages. The approximately 21,530 speakers make up just shy of 0.22 percent of Georgia’s population.
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