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The State of the World’s 7,168 Living Languages

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This bar graphic shows the status of the world's living languages.

The State of the World’s 7,168 Living Languages

What are the roots of a living language, and how many are at risk of extinction?

This graphic, from Stephen Jones, CEO of Derivation.co, shows the state of living languages around the world.

Mapping Out Living Languages

Across the 7,168 living languages today, 43% are at risk of being endangered.

In fact, a language dies off every 40 days. The vast majority of endangered languages are found in Indigenous communities, which risk the loss of culture and knowledge that they contain. At current rates, 90% of the world’s languages could disappear over the next 100 years.

According to data from Ethnologue, languages are classified across 12 states of vitality and three broader categories:

  • Endangered: Children do not learn and use the language, it is no longer the norm.
  • Stable: A language is used in the home and community, all children learn the language, but it is not formally used in institutions.
  • Institutional: A language is used beyond the community across institutions.
Status ScaleNumber of
Languages
Percent of
Languages
Number of SpeakersState
Dormant3304.6%0Endangered
Nearly Extinct3134.4%92,217Endangered
Moribund3565.0%1,126,017Endangered
Shifting4386.1%10,867,828Endangered
Threatened1,64122.9%75,983,169Endangered
Vigorous1,96327.4%308,820,743Stable
Written1,63722.8%940,043,954Stable
Educational1692.4%284,342,572Institutional
Trade1722.4%820,230,460Institutional
Regional440.6%683,448,282Institutional
National991.4%2,232,001,096Institutional
International60.1%2,031,705,440Institutional

Today, over 88 million people speak endangered languages.

The region of Oceania has the largest density of endangered languages, with 733 at risk. With a population of 8.8 million, Papua New Guinea is home to the most languages in the world. Often, small linguistic communities will have only a couple hundred people speaking the language.

Africa has 428 that are endangered, many which are clustered around the equator. Displacement, drought, and conflict are some of the key reasons that languages risk being endangered.

In North and Central America, 222 languages are at risk of extinction. In fact, 98% of Indigenous languages in the U.S. are endangered, one of the highest rates in the world.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are 490 institutional languages with 6.1 billion speakers worldwide.

Revitalizing Languages

Thanks to key initiatives, languages can be preserved.

For instance, during the 1970s, the Māori language was spoken by just 5% of Māori schoolchildren. Fast forward to today, and 25% speak the language, driven by efforts from the Māori, leading the government to protect it by law.

In Hawaii, just 2,000 people spoke the native language in the 1970s. After the government ensured it was taught in schools, the number of speakers jumped to 18,700 in 2023.

Advancements in AI are also providing tools to preserve languages. Google and Microsoft, for instance, are developing AI tools that can translate languages at impressive speeds, allowing for dying languages to become more accessible so they are not erased.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Demographics

Visualizing Racial Diversity in America’s 10 Largest States

Here’s how racial diversity breaks down across the 10 largest U.S. states by population—from California to Michigan.

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Visualizing Racial Diversity in America’s 10 Largest States

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Over the last decade, America has become increasingly more diverse as demographic patterns shift across the population.

With over 39 million people, California is not only the most populous state, but one of the most diverse in the country.

This graphic shows the racial diversity of the 10 biggest states by population, based on data from the U.S. Census.

How Diverse Are America’s Most Populous States?

Here is the racial breakdown of the 10 largest U.S. states:

StateWhite (%)Black (%)Asian (%)Other (%)
California5661523
Texas6912514
Florida7216310
New York6215914
Pennsylvania791146
Illinois7014611
Ohio801225
Georgia573247
North Carolina682138
Michigan781436

As the table above shows, California has the highest proportion of Asian Americans across the top 10 states, comprising 15% of the population.

Meanwhile, Georgia’s ethnic makeup includes 32% of Black Americans, the highest across the most populous states. As diversity has risen over the last decade, it has significantly influenced politics at both the state and national level. The state voted Republican for every presidential election from 1996-2016, but flipped blue in 2020.

With 80% of the population being White Americans, Ohio has the highest share across the biggest states. While diversity has increased since 2010, it has been seen mostly in urban and suburban districts while diversity has stagnated in rural areas.

Overall, 24% of rural areas in the U.S. are made up of non-White Americans, rising by a median rate of 3.5% across counties since 2010. While this debunks the myth that “rural” is synonymous with “white”, racial diversity across rural areas falls below the national average of 42% of the population being people of color.

Beyond the top 10 states, ethnic diversity is the highest in Hawaii, Nevada, and Maryland.

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