This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Mapping Language in the US

Emily Badger of has been paying close attention to the Census Bureau website and earlier this month the Bureau introduced yet another dot density map (called the Language Mapper Tool), this one showing where people live who speak something other than English at home. These data come, of course, from the American Community Survey, so the spatial resolution is not quite as good as the 100 percent long-form data, but the detail is still pretty amazing. As of 2011, one out of five households had people who speak a language other than English at home--a reflection of the tremendous amount of migration into the country. Not too surprisingly, Spanish leads the list, accounting for about two-thirds of the non-English speakers. Indeed, that pretty much fills up the screen in southern California. Pretty much, but not entirely, of course. One of the maps, for example, shows the distribution of people speaking Persian, and Badger focuses on Los Angeles, reminding me of the book published a number of years ago by the University of California Press titled "Irangeles." 

Sadly, this is not likely the kind of map set that will be useful in the ongoing Congressional debate about immigration reform, which faced a bit of a setback today among Republicans, as my son, Greg Weeks, has noted.

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