Legal Status of official English in Colorado

Colorado allows referenda and voter initiatives to pass new statutes or to change the state’s constitution. In 1988, this state passed an amendment to their state constitution making English the state’s official language. 15.1 percent of this state’s residents speak a language other than English. The most common of these languages are Spanish, German, French, and Korean. The number of Coloradoans who speak little or no English has more than tripled since 1990.

In 2002, Colorado voters rejected an initiative to replace bilingual education with English immersion. Opponents spent more than $3 million on an ad campaign which they later acknowledged included false information.

Official English Law in Colorado

The English language is the official language of the State of Colorado. This section is self-executing; however, the General Assembly may enact laws to implement this section.



3,402,266 English
604,019 All languages other than English combined
421,670 Spanish or Spanish Creole
30,824 German
18,045 French (incl. Patois, Cajun)
12,499 Vietnamese
12,045 Korean
11,333 Chinese
10,737 Russian
6,605 Japanese
5,703 Italian
5,064 Polish
5,013 Tagalog
4,998 Arabic
4,273 African languages
3,533 Miao, Hmong
3,377 Scandinavian languages
3,300 Persian
2,753 Other Native North American languages
2,600 Serbo-Croatian
2,510 Navajo
2,494 Greek
2,292 Hindi
2,214 Thai
2,141 Portuguese or Portuguese Creole
1,852 Laotian
1,567 Mon-Khmer, Cambodian
1,492 Hebrew
1,284 Hungarian
1,083 Urdu
716 Gujarathi
470 Yiddish
400 Armenian
272 French Creole