While Utah’s official language is English – and it was once the sole language for government, though that was later amended – many other languages are spoken by residents. As is often the case, when people immigrate to the state, they typically bring their language with them. Additionally, Native Americans often work to preserve their languages.
Typically, the languages in a state represent the region’s immigration history and historical patterns. Here’s a quick overview of the immigration history of Utah, as well as the top ten languages of Utah, not including English.
Utah Immigration History
While Utah was initially populated by Native Americans, today, the population composition is strikingly different. While there are small numbers of Native Americans, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics, and Pacific Islanders today, the bulk of the population is of European ancestry.
In 1847, Morman settlers arrived, and they built a largely self-sufficient system. However, by the late 1860s, settlers from other backgrounds also headed to the region. Natural resources were a significant draw, and those resources later caught the attention of corporations, creating more interest in the state.
While other immigrants have undeniably headed to Utah in the time since, those of European ancestry are the majority, and by a significant margin. People living in Utah are primarily in major cities. One reason is that approximately two-thirds of the land in Utah is federally owned. Additionally, a bit less than one-tenth of the land is owned by the state, and a small segment is designated for Native American use. As a result, the majority of the population is in a region called the Wasatch Front – also known as the Front – as it includes cities like Salt Lake City, Provo, and Brigham City.
Top 10 Languages of Utah (Other Than English)
While the majority of Utah’s population – which is estimated at 3.38 million residents – do speak English. However, among residents aged five and up, approximately 15.4 percent (around 520,643 people) speak a language other than English when at home. Also, around 5.22 percent of the population (about 176,478 residents) are considered to have limited English proficiency (LEP). As a result, many languages are spoken by the population. Here’s a quick look at the top ten languages of Utah other than English.
Among Utah residents, Spanish is the most commonly spoken non-English language. An estimated 297,926 people in the state speak Spanish, causing Spanish speakers to make up a little more than 10.26 percent of the population.
Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) is spoken by approximately 16,328 Utah residents. As a result, they have a population share of a bit more than 0.56 percent.
Ilocano, Samoan, Hawaiian, and other Austronesian languages are spoken by around 16,328 Utahns. That gives them a population share of nearly 0.45 percent.
An estimated 12,483 Utah residents speak Portuguese. In total, they represent about 0.43 percent of the population.
Approximately 8,760 Utahns are German speakers, and they have a population share of a little more than 0.30 percent.
Navajo is spoken by around 7,767 Utah residents. As a result, Navajo speakers make up a bit less than 0.27 percent of the population.
There are an estimated 7,452 Vietnamese speakers in Utah, giving them a population share of nearly 0.26 percent.
French (including Cajun) is spoken by approximately 7,380 Utah residents. That means that French speakers make up around 0.25 percent of the Utah population.
About 5,793 Utahns speak Tagalog (including Filipino). Together, they represent an estimated 0.20 percent of the state’s population.
Korean is spoken by approximately 5,374 Utah residents. As a result, they make up a little less than 0.19 percent of the state’s population.
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