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Top 10 Languages of New Hampshire


In many cases, the languages spoken in households in New Hampshire are a reflection of immigration patterns. With that in mind, here’s a quick overview of New Hampshire’s immigration history, as well as a list of the top ten languages of New Hampshire.

As with most states, New Hampshire is far more diverse than many people expect. Immigrants move into the area from a wide array of countries. As a result, while English is the official language in New Hampshire (in specific circumstances), many residents speak something other than English as their primary language.


New Hampshire Immigration History

While the original population in the region now known as New Hampshire was Native American, during colonial times, an influx of English and Scotch-Irish settlers – mainly Protestants – made their way to the area. The initial push of incoming Protestants began in 1719, with many of them heading to the southwestern and south-central parts of New Hampshire.

As time wore on, immigrants from other parts of Europe became more common, particularly between 1845 and 1920. While immigrants from different countries soon followed, the bulk of the population was – and remains – overwhelming European when it comes to descent.

Additionally, following the Civil War, French Canadians made their way into New Hampshire. Most of them came from Quebec, with the bulk of them heading to more industrial cities. As World War I drew to a close, the percentage of French Canadians in New Hampshire was higher than in any other state.

When viewed as a whole, incoming immigrants from Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Island nations were relatively rare. Similarly, the African American population remains quite small.


Top 10 Languages of New Hampshire (Other Than English)

New Hampshire is one of the smaller states in the country, which just 539,116 households within its borders. While the bulk of residents speak English, 8.1 percent of people age five and older speak a language other than English at home. Since the average number of people in a household is 2.44, that calculates out to about 106,550 residents.

While that does mean that the vast majority of people speak English at home, and many who don’t also speak English well, not all of them do. An estimated 2.36 percent of the population in New Hampshire speaks English less than very well, so there is a significant number of residents who are considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP).

As a result, many other languages are widely represented in New Hampshire. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top ten languages of New Hampshire.

1. Spanish

As with most states, Spanish is the most widely spoken non-English language in New Hampshire. Overall, Spanish speakers make up a bit less than 2.39 percent of the population, with around 30,856 speakers living in the state.

2. French

While French (including Cajun) is spoken by far fewer people than Spanish, the French-speaking population is still relatively sizeable. Overall, the 17,619 speakers represent a bit more than 1.36 percent of the population, making it the second most common non-English language in the state.

3. Chinese

Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) is spoken by around 5,793 people in New Hampshire, resulting in a population share of just shy of 0.45 percent.

4. Portuguese

There are about 4,937 Portuguese speakers in New Hampshire. That works out to approximately 0.38 percent of the population of the state.

5. Nepali, Marathi, or Other Indic Languages

Overall, a bit more than 0.32 percent of the population of New Hampshire speaks Nepali, Marathi, or other Indic languages. In total, that is around 4,187 residents.

6. German

German is in sixth place, with around 3,600 speakers. When broken down, that represents nearly 0.28 percent of the population.

7. Arabic

Sitting a big behind German is Arabic, with a population share of a little less than 0.24 percent. Throughout the state, there are about 3,051 Arabic speakers.

8. Greek

In eighth place is Greek. In New Hampshire, approximately 2,695 residents speak it, representing around 0.21 percent of the population.

9. Vietnamese

Nearly 0.17 percent of the population of New Hampshire speaks Vietnamese, which totals out to about 2,192 residents.

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

Finally, sitting just behind Vietnamese is Swahili and other central, eastern, and southern African languages. Overall, there are 2,167 speakers, representing just shy of 0.17 percent of the population.


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