Ever wonder which states are known for their multilingual capabilities? In one state, 50% of the people speak a second language. Very cool.
United States census information on the most multilingual regions of the US reveals some interesting surprises as to where you can expect to find the most language diversity in the country. While some of the states that made the top ten list seem like givens — New York and California, for instance — others may take you by surprise.
California is king when it comes to bi- and multilingual residents. A whopping 42.6 percent of California’s inhabitants speak a language other than English in the home. California is well-known for its Hispanic population and, just as Spanish is the second most popular language in the US as a whole, it’s also the second most-spoken language in the state. Other languages with a significant presence include Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, as well as Arabic, Armenian and Tagalog.
2. New Mexico
New Mexico comes in second place in the rankings of bilingual citizens, with 35.7 percent of the state’s population speaking another language. Unsurprisingly, most of those speak Spanish, but a fair number speak Navajo and/or other Native American languages.
Like California and New Mexico, many of Texas’s bilingual residents use Spanish in the home. According to census numbers, 33.9 percent of the state’s residents speak a language other than English at home, such as Chinese, German or Vietnamese.
4. New York
No surprise here! New York state has 28.9 percent of residents speaking a second language. NYC is also a city where you’re likely to hear an enormous diversity of languages, whether it’s Chinese, Italian, Russian or Yiddish — sometimes all of these within the same city block!
Arizona rounds out the top five in our list of US states with the most language diversity. The state claims a bilingual population of 28.5 percent, most of them speaking Spanish and, like New Mexico, Navajo and other Native American tongues.
6. New Jersey
New Jersey just misses out on the top five, as 27.8 percent of the state’s residents speak a second language other than English. Due to its proximity to New York, a fair amount of immigrants have settled in the Garden State, contributing to populations speaking Chinese, Gujarati, Portuguese, Spanish — and of course, Italian.
Nevada is home to more than Las Vegas glitz and glam, and dry desert landscapes. This western US state is also home to a diverse number of languages, with 27.4 percent of the population being at least bilingual. Chinese, German and Tagalog add to the predominant second language of the Southwest: Spanish.
“Bienvenido a Miami” is a good way to welcome visitors to Florida’s notorious party city, which is also well-known for its Spanish-speaking population. In the state as a whole, 26.1 percent of the population speaks a second language, including French, German and Italian.
It might not be the first state that comes to mind when you think of language diversity in the US, but Hawaii still makes it into the top ten with 25.5 percent of the Aloha State’s residents claiming to be bilingual. Japanese is quite prominent on the islands, as are Chinese, Korean and Tagalog — along with Hawaiian, the state’s second official language.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, but 21.8 percent of Illinois residents speak a second language, whether it’s Polish in Chicago or the many speakers of Chinese, German and Spanish.
Article Courtesy of Alsintl.com.