Community Snapshot: Colorado by the Numbers, Your Community by the Numbers

Language Access, Linguistic Diversity, and Language Justice

Supporting services to our emerging English speakers, AKA Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals, in our libraries through language access is one of the many ways that our libraries center our communities. Lots of Colorado libraries have identified goals and outcomes for strategic plans, drafted mission and value statements, and designed library experiences, developed programming, and engaged partners to meet the needs of our neighborhoods, towns, and cities. Colorado libraries are already doing this work. Thank you! You’re doing amazing work.

To support our libraries across the state expand access to materials, resources, and services to our emerging English speakers and/or immigrant and refugee communities, we want share some information about our state and to connect you to resources – some familiar, some new – to help you find specific information about your community.

Demographics and Language Data

The table below breaks down the 2021 1-Year Estimate Languages Spoken at Home data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community survey for Colorado:

Languages Spoken At Home

GrouptotalEnglish only or “very well”Less than “very well”
Population >5 years5,504,2325,188,530
Speak only English4,611,983 (83.80%)XX
Speak a language other than English892,249 (16.20%)576,547
Spanish (total)600,565 (10.90%)381,740
5 to 17 years old127,954
18 to 64 years old421,115
65 years old and over51,496

Speak a language other than English or Spanish (all ages)

LanguagetotalEnglish only or “very well”Less than “very well”
Other Indo-European languages126,298
Asian and Pacific Island languages105,416
Other languages59,970

Since the Spanish language is, as of 2021, the second most spoken language in Colorado and the most spoken non-English language “at home” for Coloradans, it will be the best place for us to start for most Colorado libraries. However, Spanish is just a language. It is only one aspect of culture that may be useful in determining what works best for your community of Spanish-speakers in your library. Spanish speakers in Colorado come from different places and bring with them (with us) different cultures, norms, traditions, and shared (or not shared) experiences. Another layer of demographics information that may be valuable in serving Spanish-speaking Coloradans is learning where they and/or their families are from.

The table below breaks down the 2021 1-Year Estimate self-identified “Hispanic or Latino” by “Specific Origin” (i.e., country or places) population count and demographics from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for Colorado:

Not Hispanic or Latino4,518,855
Hispanic or Latino (total)1,293,21422.25%
Specific Origin (i.e., country or places)Percent of Hispanic or Latino overall
Caribbean/ Atlantic51,9904.02%
Puerto Rican35,644
Dominican (Dominican Republic)4,133
Central American (not including Mexico)63,8344.94%
Costa Rican1,630
Other Central American74
South American46,7353.61%
Other South American565
Other Hispanic or Latino223,74317.30%
Spanish American10,100
All other Hispanic or Latino98,188

Materials for LEP individuals should reflect the same and/or equitable information as materials for English speakers. At present, Spanish is the second most common language spoken in Colorado.

  • Statewide demographic information can be found at the Colorado State Demography Office
  • The American Community Survey (ACS) from the US Census Bureau provides more specific and more comprehensive data. Additional entry points for data are also provided including “Selected Social Characteristics” where Language Spoken at Home is found and “Demographic and Housing Estimates” where broader demographic categories can be explored. The ACS data dashboard includes filters for states.

Community & Served Population Specific Data

You may find that your community’s demographics, languages spoken at home, and population information is not reflected in this post. To best identify languages in which to provide signage, translation for events and programs, or for acquisitions and collections you may need to dig a little deeper into some other sources.

City and county-specific demographic data can be accessed from the Colorado State Demography Office dashboard. Additional municipal and county offices may provide additional insights into the local service area population of a library.

Libraries that serve as departments of larger institutions like universities, colleges, schools, corrections facilities, etc. may have additional institution-specific data sources.


For more information related to serving hispanohablante persons and communities in Colorado, visit Spanish for Libraries  on the Colorado State Library website or email me, Cristy Moran, Adult Library Services Senior Consultant, at

*A note about the “Caribbean/ Atlantic” label you see in this table: The Caribbean/ Atlantic category does not appear as a US Census Bureau and/or American Community Survey label. It was created by the author of this post for Colorado State Library as were the associated calculations herein. Like many ethnic and racial and other demographic labels applied to individuals in community and population counts, the breakdown of “Hispanic or Latino” places of origin provided by the Census is insufficient and we attempt to amend or correct them as we are able.

Cristy Moran