Of those who speak a foreign language at home, 45 percent were born in the United States
The number has nearly tripled since 1980, and more than doubled since 1990. The growth at the state level is even more pronounced. All language figures in Census Bureau data are for persons five years of age and older.
Among the findings:
- In 2018, a record 67.3 million U.S. residents (native-born, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants) spoke a language other than English at home. The number has more than doubled since 1990 and almost tripled since 1980.
- Since 1980, the number who speak a foreign language at home grew nearly seven times faster than the number who speak only English at home. Even since 2010, when the number speaking a foreign language at home was already very large, the number of foreign-language speakers increased more than twice as fast as that of English speakers.1
- As a share of the population, 21.9 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home — more than double the 11 percent in 1980.
- In nine states, more than one in four residents now speaks a language other than English at home. These nine states account for two-thirds of all foreign-language speakers. In contrast, in 1980 foreign-language speakers were one in four residents in just two states (New Mexico and Hawaii); and these two states accounted for just 3 percent of all foreign language speakers.
- The states with the largest share of their populations speaking a foreign language at home in 2018 were California (45 percent), Texas (36 percent), New Mexico (34 percent), New Jersey (32 percent), New York and Nevada (each 31 percent), Florida (30 percent), Arizona and Hawaii (each 28 percent), and Massachusetts (24 percent).
- States with the largest percentage increase in those speaking a foreign language at home from 1980 to 2018 are Nevada (up 1,088 percent), Georgia (up 952 percent), North Carolina (up 802 percent), Virginia (up 488 percent), Tennessee (up 459 percent), Arkansas (up 445 percent), Washington (up 432 percent), South Carolina (up 398 percent), Florida (up 393 percent), Utah (up 383 percent), and Oregon (up 380 percent).
- States with the largest percentage increase in the number of those speaking a foreign language at home since 2010 are North Dakota (up 63 percent), Utah (up 29 percent), Iowa (up 24 percent), Florida, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington, Maryland and Nevada (each up 23 percent), Oregon and Tennessee (each up 22 percent), North Carolina and Kentucky (each up 21 percent), and South Carolina (up 20 percent).
- In America’s five largest cities, just under half (48 percent) of residents now speak a language other than English at home. In New York City it is 49 percent; in Los Angeles it is 59 percent; in Chicago it is 36 percent; in Houston it is 50 percent; and in Phoenix it is 38 percent.2
- In 2018, there were 90 cities and Census Designated Places (CDP) with populations of at least 63,000 in which a majority of residents spoke a foreign language at home. These include Hialeah, Fla., and Laredo, Texas (each 89 percent); East Los Angeles (88 percent); and Passaic, N.J. (78 percent).3
- In 2018, there were 229 cities and CDPs in which more than one in three residents spoke a language other than English at home. Some of these places may be surprising: Providence, R.I. (50 percent); Allentown, Pa. (48 percent); Germantown, Md. (46 percent); Centerville, Va. (44 percent); New Rochelle, N.Y. (42 percent); West Valley City, Utah (39 percent); Springdale, Ark. (35 percent); and Troy, Mich. (34 percent).
- The largest numerical increases in those who speak a language other than English at home between 2010 and 2018 were among speakers of Spanish (up 4.5 million), Chinese (up 663,000), Arabic (up 394,000), Hindi (up 265,000), Tagalog (up 187,000), Telugu (up 177,000), Vietnamese (up 161,000), Bengali (up 152,000), Portuguese (up 128,000), and Tamil (up 124,000). Telugu and Tamil are spoken in India, Tagalog is the national language of the Philippines, and Bengali is spoken in India and is also the national language of Bangladesh.
- Languages with more than a million people who speak it at home in 2018 were Spanish (41.5 million), Chinese (3.5 million), Tagalog (1.8 million), Vietnamese (1.5 million), Arabic (1.3 million), French (1.2 million), and Korean (1.1 million).
- There are now more people who speak Spanish at home in the United States than in any country in Latin America with the exception of Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina.
- Of those who speak a foreign language at home, 25.6 million (38 percent) told the Census Bureau that they speak English less than very well. This figure is entirely based on the opinion of the respondent; the Census Bureaus does not measure language skills.4
From CIS here.