This is the Most Widely Spoken Foreign Language in Indiana Outside of English and Spanish
For centuries, people from other countries around the world have left their homelands for the chance to make a better life for themselves and their families here in America. It's why we're called, "The Melting Pot." Over time, those immigrants spread across the country eventually settling down in places all around the nation, including here in Indiana, where their future generations (i.e. you and me) still reside in many cases. While I assume many of the early settlers spoke their native language when they arrived, as time went on the generations that followed began to transition to the English language which the vast majority of Hoosiers speak today. However, there are still pockets around the state where English isn't the first language spoke, and what is spoken instead may or may not come as a surprise depending on your ancestry.
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It likely comes as no surprise that Spanish is the second most spoken language in Indiana. The Hispanic population has grown tremendously across the country over the past few decades. But, as the headline says, I'm here to share with you some information I discovered recently about what is the most spoken language after English and Spanish.
The graphic below from Visual Capitalist recently shared on Reddit by user u/Alissan_Web showing that German is the most spoken non-English or non-Spanish language in the state. The graphic sites data from the U.S. Census Bureau as its source.
Not one to just believe whatever I see on Reddit, or any social media for that matter, I decided to do some digging, and found that for the most part, that is correct. I say "for the most part" because according to Data USA which cites the same data, after Spanish, Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch, "or other West Germanic languages" narrowly beat out German for the third spot. However, those languages originated in different parts of Germany, so while the map isn't incorrect, per se, it appears to group them all together instead of breaking things down into specifics.
Why Indiana Was Popular Among German Immigrants
Being someone who can trace my roots back to German settlers on both my mom and dad's sides of the family, I decided to see what exactly was so appealing about Indiana to German immigrants. After searching "why did german immigrants settle in indiana" through Google, it turns out there are several reasons and they all didn't show up at the same time. They would often come in waves over the course of 150 to 200 years. Some came to escape religious persecution. Others came for the farmland. While there were those who were skilled craftmen and woodworkers who being pushed west as the Industrial Revolution began to take hold on the east coast where many originally settled after landing on American soil.
Whatever the reason, many of us can say we have quite a bit of German heritage pumping through our veins whether we speak the language today or not.
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Gallery Credit: Ryan O'Bryan