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Top 10 Languages of Nebraska

Top ten languages of Nebraska

In Nebraska, the official language of the state is English. The vast majority of Nebraskans do speak English, either as a primary or secondary language. However, immigrants coming to the state often bring their language with them, and not all of them speak at home, if at all. Additionally, Native Americans may also speak their native languages.

As a result, a wider array of languages is spoken in Nebraska than some may realize. Couple that with the fact that Nebraska is more diverse than most people would assume, and it’s often intriguing to see which languages are present within a state. With that in mind, here’s a short overview of the immigration history of Nebraska and a look at the top ten languages of Nebraska (besides English).

 

Nebraska Immigration History

Originally, Nebraska was only inhabited by indigenous peoples. However, in 1854, the region functionally opened to settlement, as it became an incorporated territory of the United States in May of that year. A reservation was created for the Omaha people – and it later also became a reservation for other indigenous people – while Europeans or people of European descent began settling in the remainder of the area.

Among the initial immigrants were Germans, Scandinavians, Bohemians, and Britons. Over time, the composition began to shift. For example, African Americans arrived in the region. By the end of the 20th century, a larger number of Hispanic and Asian immigrants also came to the area. As a result, Nebraska became a relatively diverse state.

 

Top 10 Languages of Nebraska (Other Than English)

At this time, Nebraska has approximately 1.97 million residents. While most of them speak English, an estimated 11.8 percent of residents aged five and up (about 232,215 people) speak a language other than English while at home. Additionally, around 4.75 percent of the Nebraska population (approximately 93,476 people) are considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP).

That means the residents of Nebraska speak more languages than most would expect. Here’s an overview of the top ten languages of Nebraska, not including English.

1. Spanish

As is true in most states, Spanish is by far the most common non-English language spoken in Nebraska. There are an estimated 137,352 Spanish-speaking residents, giving them a population share of 7.66 percent.

2. Vietnamese

While Vietnamese is the second most common non-English language spoken in Nebraska, its numbers are far behind Spanish. In total, there are around 6,870 speakers, so they make up a bit more than 0.38 percent of the population.

3. Chinese

There are around 5,653 Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) speakers in the state of Nebraska. As a result, they have a population share of nearly 0.32 percent.

4. Arabic

With 5,611 speakers, Arabic ends up in fourth place on the list of the top ten non-English languages spoken by Nebraska residents. They make up a bit more than 0.31 percent of the population.

5. French

French (including Cajun) is spoken by approximately 4,660 Nebraska residents. As a result, French speakers make up 0.26 percent of the population of the state.

6. German

In Nebraska, German is spoken by an estimated 4,176 people. That gives them a population share of a little more than 0.23 percent.

7. Amharic, Somali, or Other Afro-Asiatic Languages

With around 3,863 speakers, Amharic, Somali, and other Afro-Asiatic languages come in seventh place on this list. Overall, they make up a bit less than 0.22 percent of the Nebraska population.

8. Swahili or Other Languages of Central, Eastern, & Southern Africa

Swahili and other languages of Central, Eastern, and Southern Africa are spoken by nearly 0.21 percent of the Nebraska population. In total, there are around 3,672 speakers.

9. Nepali, Marathi, or Other Indic Languages

Nepali, Marathi, and other Indic languages are spoken by approximately 3,062 Nebraska residents. That gives them a population share of about 0.17 percent.

10. Tagalog

Tagalog (including Filipino) rounds out the top ten languages of Nebraska. The estimated 2,164 speakers make up a little more than 0.12 percent of the state’s population.

 

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