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Most common languages spoken in the U.S.

languages of the U.S.

The U.S. is roughly the size of Brazil, smaller than Russia and larger than India. Because it’s among the largest countries on the planet, choosing where to live begs thought. Considering the languages spoken in the U.S. may help you decide.

We know what languages are being spoken in homes throughout the U.S. from the monthly American Community Survey (ACS). In the past, once every 10 years the U.S. Census Bureau sent households a survey, the Long Form. The American Community Survey replaced the Long Form in 2005 and instead surveys about 290,000 homes each month (about 3.5 million surveys per year). Responding to ACS is mandatory, and more than 90 percent of homes do.

In May, Ben Blatt of Slate.com assembled a set of interesting maps that show the distribution of languages spoken in the U.S., according to ACS. English predominates, with Spanish clearly being the second most common language spoken in U.S. homes in most states.

However, Blatt shows that in a handful of states, the second most common language after English are a language native to the region, an Austronesian language, German and French:


State
Most Common Household Language after English
Alaska
Yupik
Hawaii
Tagalog
Louisiana
French
North Dakota
German
New Hampshire
French
Vermont
French

Blatt’s map of most common languages spoken in U.S. homes, according to ACS and not counting English or Spanish, is also thought provoking:

Most Common Household Language other than English or Spanish States
Arabic Michigan
Chinese New York
Dakota South Dakota
German Alabama; Arkansas; Colorado;
Idaho; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas;
Kentucky; Missouri; Montana;
North Dakota; Ohio; Tennessee;
Utah; Washington state; Wyoming;
Wisconsin
French Connecticut; Delaware; Louisiana;
Maine; Maryland; Mississippi; New
Hampshire; North Carolina; South
Carolina; Vermont; West Virginia
French Creole Florida
Korean Georgia; Virginia
Italian New Jersey; Pennsylvania
Navajo Arizona; New Mexico
Polish Illinois
Portuguese Massachusetts; Rhode Island
Russian Oregon
Tagalog California; Hawaii; Nevada
Vietnamese Nebraska; Oklahoma; Texas
Yupik Alaska

Again, the ACS shows what languages are most commonly spoken in homes in the U.S. This isn’t an indicator that you’ll find any language other than English commonly used publicly. But if you know a region’s language, there’s a baseline connection with the culture and mindset. Knowing languages spoken in the U.S. gives immigrants power to choose to live in regions that can encourage their goals, whether those goals are to find connection or explore something totally new.