In Louisiana, the bulk of residents speak English. However, as is the case in many states, Louisiana is incredibly diverse. Many people immigrated to the state over the centuries, and more immigrants arrive every day. Typically, immigrants bring their languages and cultures with them. As a result, far more languages are spoken in Louisiana than one may expect.
Often, the languages in a state represent the region’s immigration history mixed with current trends. With that in mind, here’s a quick overview of Louisiana’s immigration history and the top ten languages of Louisiana, not including English.
Louisiana Immigration History
As in most parts of the country, the original inhabitants of Louisiana were indigenous people. Prior to European settlement during the 1700s, a variety of indigenous groups were present in what’s now the state of Louisiana, including the Atakapa, Caddo, Chitimacha, Natchez, Tunica, and many others.
In Louisiana, early European settlers were largely French or Spanish, though immigrants of Hungarian, German, Croatian, and other nations were also part of the mix. Africans were also prevalent, with many being around plantation areas in the mid-20th century, though later moving to urban areas as slavery came to an end.
As time passed, immigrants from other regions also began arriving. The number of Latin American and Cuban migrants increased rapidly, though immigrants also came in from parts of Asia, other areas in Europe, various Pacific Islands, and additional locations. As a result, Louisiana is highly diverse.
Top 10 Languages of Louisiana (Other Than English) Louisiana has approximately 4.6 million residents. While the vast majority do speak English, an estimated 7.7 percent of persons above the age of four – about 353,449 people – use another language at home. Additionally, around 2.81 percent of the population – approximately 128,986 people – are considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP).
As a result, many other languages are widely spoken in Louisiana. Here’s an overview of the top ten languages of Louisiana, not including English.
In Louisiana – as is the case in many other states – Spanish is the most widely spoken non-English language by a significant margin. In total, there are approximately 161,117 Spanish speakers in the state, resulting in a population share of nearly 3.7 percent.
The second most common non-English language in Louisiana is French (including Cajun). The estimated 76,909 speakers make up a little more than 1.76 percent of the population.
Following French on this list is Vietnamese, with a population share of about 0.57 percent. In total, there are approximately 24,960 Vietnamese speakers in the state of Louisiana.
Louisiana is estimated to have about 10,789 Arabic speakers among the residents. That gives them a population share of nearly 0.25 percent.
Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) is the fifth most common non-English language used in Louisiana. With approximately 10,233 speakers, Chinese speakers make up about 0.24 percent of the population.
With an estimated 5,872 speakers in Louisiana, Tagalog (including Filipino) is in sixth place on this list. Overall, those residents make up a little more than 0.13 percent of the population.
There are about 4,641 German speakers residing in Louisiana. As a result, they have a population share of nearly 0.11 percent.
Haitian is the eighth most common non-English language in Louisiana. There are approximately 4,168 speakers, resulting in a population share of a bit less than 0.1 percent.
Portuguese speakers make up around 0.07 percent of the population of Louisiana. In total, there are an estimated 3,134 Portuguese speakers in the state.
10. Thai, Lao, or Other Tai-Kadai Languages
Thai, Lao, and other Tai-Kadai languages round out the top ten. There are approximately 2,672 speakers of those languages in Louisiana, giving them a population share of a bit more than 0.06 percent.
Need to Communicate with a Diverse Population?
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