The United States Census asks people what language they speak at home — and, as expected, most people speak English. But in Connecticut, about 21.5 percent of people say they speak a language other than English, and it often differs sharply from neighborhood to neighborhood.
For example, the second-most spoken language in most New Haven neighborhoods is Spanish, but Chinese is the second-most popular language in Downtown New Haven.
So for this exercise, we looked at the second-most-popular language in each Census tract, an area that averages about 4,000 people. (We used the 2013 five-year American Community Survey estimates.) This method isn’t perfect, since the margins of error for the less popular languages are high — some to the point that we can’t draw any real conclusions for a given Census tract. You can view the margins on the map when you hover over each tract; the higher the margin of error, the less confident you should be in the value. But that said, an overview of the map reveals pockets of foreign-language-speaking populations in the state.
As expected, Spanish or Spanish Creole are by far the most popular second languages, being spoken at home in 527 census tracts. The tracts are in both urban and suburban neighborhoods. In most of the suburban neighborhoods, however, residents are mostly English-only speakers, and there are only small numbers of Spanish speakers, even though they are the largest minority.
English actually comes in as the second-most-spoken language in 45 tracts, which usually means Spanish is the dominant language in those neighborhoods. They are mostly in urban areas, such as Hartford and New Haven.
French/French Creole, Italian and Polish, which are color-coded on the map above, show up in fewer census tracts. We didn’t color code every other language, since it would be a hodgepodge of 20-plus colors. But zoom into your neighborhood, and you might see something interesting. Make sure to pay attention to the margin of error, though.
See something noteworthy in your town? Let us know in the comments.