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Arizona has most Indian language speakers

  |   Dec. 11, 2011 at 7:49 PM
WASHINGTON, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Apache County in Arizona has 37,000 speakers of an American Indian language, the highest concentration in the nation, the U.S. Census Bureau says.

A report by the bureau's American FactFinder said although the majority of American Indian language speakers reside in areas where there are concentrated populations of American Indians or Alaskan indigenous peoples, only 5 percent of the residents of those areas speak a tribal language.

Sixty-five percent of tribal language speakers live in just three states -- Alaska, Arizona and New Mexico. Nine counties within the three states contain half the nation's tribal language speakers, the report said.

After Apache County in Arizona, McKinley County, N.M., has the second most speakers at 33,000. Together, about 20 percent of all American Indian language speakers in the nation live in these two counties.

The most commonly spoken American Indian language is Navajo, with more than 169,000 people speakers nationally -- nearly nine times larger than the second- and third-most commonly spoken languages of Yupik and Dakota, with each having about 19,000 speakers.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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