What goes on behind closed doors in Minnesota?
From what we can tell by looking at a new U.S. Census Bureau report, an awful lot of talking – in languages other than English.
The statistics, which you can view here, indicate more than 535,000 Minnesotans speak a non-English language at home, and that the predominance of one particular tongue may represent the state's changing cultural makeup.
That would be Spanish, which is spoken by 192,113 people in Minnesota – easily the most prominent of non-English languages spoken at home, MinnPost points out.
Another interesting note: Just two and a half years ago, another census report found Minnesota's fastest-growing ethnic group was Asians, who were found to have made up 3.4 percent of the state's population (more than the national average) – an increase driven partly by a wave of immigrants from India.
It makes sense, then, that dozens of Asian languages (including Hmong, Thai, and Chinese) are used by a whopping 151,280 people in Minnesota. Hmong is the most spoken of these languages, with over 55,000 users.
MinnPost notes that Cushite – a group of languages that includes Somali – comes in third place overall behind Spanish and Hmong. This is perhaps not surprising, as Minnesota is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S., City Pages reported.
Another big one that isn't out of left field, given Minnesota's ethnic makeup: German, the bureau's report says. It's spoken at home by more than 24,000 people in the state.
Some of the languages on the list are somewhat unexpected.
For instance, did you know that 120 people in Minnesota use Irish Gaelic (the culture's historical, pre-English language) at home? And there are also speakers of Scottish Gaelic in the state, but far fewer (about 20), the report indicates.
145 people use Yiddish (originally used by Ashkenazic Jews and based in part on Hebrew) in their households, while Pennsylvania Dutch-speakers (actually named for early German settlers in America) number in the 700s.
To put this all in perspective, Minnesota's population is roughly 5.5 million. This means that a vast majority of the state's residents – about 4,465,000 – speak only English.
The Census Bureau's report looked at data from between 2009 and 2013 and found that there are at least 350 languages spoken in homes across America.