Languages and Nationalities

To give you a sense of the diversity of twenty-first century North Carolina, we've provided two lists of languages below.

  1. The first is from the U.S. Census of 2000, and it shows the number of people aged 5 and over who spoke various languages at home -- that is, as a first or native language.
  2. The second is from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction; this table shows the number of students in North Carolina schools who spoke various languages at home in 2005.

Finally, for a historical perspective, we've provided similar data from antebellum North Carolina.

Census data

Languages Spoken at Home for the Population 5 Years and Over: North Carolina, 2000
Language Number of speakers
5 years and over 7513165
Speak only English 6909648
Speak other language 603517
Spanish or Spanish Creole 378942
Other Indo-European languages 119961
French (incl.Patois, Cajun) 33201
French Creole 1441
Italian 6233
Portuguese or Portuguese Creole 3171
German 28520
Yipish 467
Other West Germanic languages 2541
Scandinavian languages 2766
Greek 6404
Russian 4109
Polish 2965
Serbo-Croatian 1918
Other Slavic languages 2639
Armenian 117
Persian 2432
Gujarathi 5725
Hindi 4153
Urdu 3208
Other Indic languages 4834
Other Indo-European languages 2117
Asian and Pacific Island languages 78246
Chines 15698
Japanese 6317
Korean 11386
Mon-Khmer, Cambodian 3361
Miao, Hmong 7493
Thai 2019
Laotian 4599
Vietnamese 13594
Other Asian languages 5178
Tagalog 6521
Other Pacific Island languages 2080
Other languages 26368
Navajo 221
Other Native North American languages 2093
Hungarian 1041
Arabic 10834
Hebrew 1321
African languages 9181
Other and unspecified languages 1677

A historical comparison

For some perspective, compare the list above to this list of countries of origin of people living in North Carolina in 1850. (You may remember it from our look at antebellum migration.)

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Foreign-born people living in North Carolina and in the United States, by country of origin, 1850