Dissecting the spoken word – Report highlights Utah’s most used languages


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The Utah Department of Health released a report last month listing the top 20 languages spoken in Utah.

According to the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, which was used in compiling the UDOH report, one in seven Utah residents speak a language other than English at home. The information is intended to assist agencies providing health programs and services to people with limited English proficiency.

The top five languages spoken in Utah are English (2.187 million), Spanish (245,945), Chinese (11,451), German (9,023) and Navajo (8,193), according to the data collected.

“People may be surprised by the diversity of languages spoken in our state,” said Brittney Okada, with the UDOH Office of Health Disparities. “We hope the reports bring attention to the language barriers faced by many of our fellow Utahns as they try to navigate the health care system.”

The Six County region has 65,123 individuals who use English as their primary dialect, followed by 4,524 people who speak Spanish. German speakers account for 219 people, followed by Chinese (124), Navajo (102), French (100), Japanese (78), Portuguese (68), other Native American languages (50) and Russian (34).

The 10 most used languages in Sevier County include English (18,295), Spanish (643), German (69), Navajo (50), Arabic (19), Tagalog (17), Italian (15), Portuguese (14) French (13) and Japanese (9).

Overall, the information in the report is for general reference and cannot account for all of the cultural, regional and linguistic diversity found within non-English speaking populations in Utah, according to Okada.

“The reports can help providers and health programs better understand their patient and client population, plan for language services, evaluate their current language services, and improve patient and client interactions,” Okada said. “Effective and meaningful communication is essential to health services.”

The reports are also intended to help health care providers better comply with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services standards.

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