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Population Statistics by Family

The following statistical information has been extracted primarily from the 16th (2009) edition of SIL International's Ethnologue; newer figures for individual languages are available in the Mexico section of the current edition. The Ethnologue itself draws on a number of sources, including the official Mexican census. (Statistics on speakers of minority languages are notoriously difficult to collect and to evaluate. Not all members of an ethnic group are necessarily speakers of the traditional language of the group.) The numbers presented here should not be taken as official in any sense, but we hope that they are helpful in a general way.

The figures indicate the approximate number of speakers that are found in Mexico (regardless of location), by family; they do not necessarily indicate the number of people who belong to the relevant cultural groups. Moreover, in many cases speakers of these languages are also found outside of Mexico, both in traditional regions and in regions of recent migration. The figures listed here do not include populations outside of Mexico. For example, Algonquian languages are primarily distributed in Canada and the U.S. (their traditional homelands), and Mayan languages are widely spoken in Guatemala. The Zapotecan and Mixtecan families, among others, are well-represented in Los Angeles County, California, for example, and there are groups of speakers of Mexican indigenous languages in other places in the U.S. and Canada.

Approximate number of
speakers in Mexico
300 Algonquian
27,940 Amuzgoan
98,800 Chinantecan
35,000 Corachol
18,340 Huavean
87,000-100,000 Signed languages
1,566,150 Mayan
145,320 Mixe-Zoquean
440,760 Mixtecan
1,748,900 Nahuatl
630,185 Otopamean
26,500 Tepiman
209,920 Popolocan
900 Serian
152,040 Taracahitic
175,000 Tarascan
4,550 Tequistlatecan
120,680 Tlapanecan
282,440 Totonacan
748 Yuman