MetroHartford, Connecticut Have Strong Linguistic Diversity; Plus for Global Marketplace

The number of languages spoken in Connecticut is considerably larger than most people expect.  That fact was highlighted in the recent MetroHartford Progress Points Report, prepared for the MetroHartford Alliance.  The linguistic diversity and global connections of the region are reflected in schools and employers, with more than 100 different languages spoken in homes of students attending schools throughout the region, according to the report.progress points report The “number of students with non-English home language” according to data on the website of the State Department of Education include Avon, 185; Bloomfield, 59; East Hartford, 1,124; Farmington, 474; Hartford, 8,371; Manchester, 335; Newington, 653; Simsbury, 228; South Windsor, 328; Tolland, 14; West Hartford, 1,876; and Windsor, 280.  The report indicated that 75 percent of English language learner (ELL) students are Spanish-speaking, 25 percent speak other languages at home.

Some of the languages spoken in the homes of students attending schools in the region may be unexpected.  In Manchester, for example, the lead languages are Spanish, Bengali, and Urdu, and the list also includes Twi/Fante, Telugu, and Gujarati.

The Hartford region consists of 750,000 people living in the city of Hartford, its surrounding inner-ring suburbs, and outer-ring and rural towns that have historical, economic or social ties with the city.

In 2013, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving gathered a group of regional stakeholders to develop a unique community partnership that came together to collect, analyze and disseminate a broad range of data, to place a spotlight on some of the central challenges and opportunities for the region. The goal was to share critical information “with residents and policymakers that will result in meaningful dialogue and propel action in our communities.”  Among the report’s areas of research is “increasing globalization through immigration,” using data from the state Department of Education (SDE).progresspointslogo

Sponsoring organizations of Metro Hartford Progress Points include Capital Workforce Partners, Trinity College’s Center for Urban and Cultural Studies, the Capitol Region Council of Governments, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hispanic Health Council, MetroHartford Alliance, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, Urban League of Greater Hartford and the City of Hartford.

Data on English-language learners and languages spoken in schools is based on reports retrieved from the SDE CEDAR Data Tables on English Language Learners, for both Number of English Language Learners (ELL) and Languages Spoken by Connecticut Students for the 2010-11 school year, the most recent data available.

Statewide, the variety of languages spoken by Connecticut students is considerable.  Nearly 73,000 students live in homes with a “non-English home language,” according to the State Department of Education. The leaders include:

  • Spanish                        47,190
  • Portuguese                  2,846
  • Polish                          2,279
  • Albanian                      1,263
  • Chinese                       2,215
  • Creole-Haitian             1,714
  • Arabic                         1,159
  • Vietnamese                 1,157
  • Urdu                            1,131
  • Russian                        811
  • French                         762
  • Gujarati                       738
  • Serbo-Croatian            705

For the uninitiated, Gujarātī is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 46 million people in the Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, and also in Bangladesh, Fiji, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan, Réunion, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  And, apparently, Connecticut - in the homes of 738 slanguages spokentudents.

Close to 100 million people around the world speak Urdu. It is the official language of Pakistan, a status and is also spoken and understood in parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Middle East.

The Progress Points partners include: Capital Workforce Partners, Capitol Region Council of Governments, City of Hartford, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Hispanic Health Council, MetroHartford Alliance, Trinity College Center for Urban and Global Studies, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut , and the Urban League of Greater Hartford.