In 90 U.S. cities, more than half speak a foreign language at home

by WorldTribune Staff, October 30, 2019

More than half of the residents in 90 of America’s major cities speak a non-English language at home, according to Census Bureau data.

In analyzing the data, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) reported that in the five largest U.S. cities, an average of 48 percent speak a foreign language at home, mostly Spanish or Chinese.

CIS found that “67.3 million residents in the United States now speak a language other than English at home, a number equal to the entire population of France. 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.”

Of those who speak a foreign language at home, CIS found that 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 Bureau does not measure language skills,” CIS noted.

Of those who speak a foreign language at home, 45 percent were born in the United States.

The CIS analysis found:

• In New York City, 49 percent speak a language other than English at home; 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.

• Nearly 22 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home — more than double the 11 percent who did in 1980.

• 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).

• 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 U.S. than in any country in Latin America, with the exception of Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina.


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