Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages in Each State

Cheyenne Buckingham

Source: Thinkstock

11. Hawaii
> Most popular language: Ilocano
> Residents who speak Ilocano at home: 59,454
> Ilocano-speaking population: 4.2%

Hawaii, the vacation-getaway state has a predominantly large Ilocano-speaking population, with 4.2% of islanders using it at home. Ilocano originated in The Philippines in the late 16th century and later migrated to neighboring islands, as well as, the relatively far Hawaii archipelago.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

12. Idaho
> Most popular language: Arabic
> Residents who speak Arabic at home: 5,900
> Arabic-speaking population: 0.4%

One of four states that have Arabic as its leading foreign language other than Spanish is none other than the U.S.’s own Gem State. According to Census data, more than 7,000 people in Idaho can trace their ancestry to Arabic-speaking countries.

Source: Thinkstock

13. Illinois
> Most popular language: Polish
> Residents who speak Polish at home: 176,240
> Polish-speaking population: 1.4%

The most commonly spoken foreign language in Illinois is Polish. The number of people in Illinois who speak Polish is far lower than the number people with Polish ancestry. There are 176,240 Illinois residents who speak Polish at home, versus 654,339 residents with Polish ancestry.

Source: Photo by Greg Hume / Wikimedia Commons

14. Indiana
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 28,243
> German-speaking population: 0.4%

German is the most popular foreign language spoken in the United States after Spanish, and Indiana is one of the 11 states with the most residents speaking it. Approximately 17.3% of people in Indiana have German ancestry, one of the larger German populations of all states.

Source: Thinkstock

15. Iowa
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 11,538
> German-speaking population: 0.4%

Iowa also claims German as its most commonly spoken foreign language. A whopping 27.9% of the population has ancestors from Germany, the fifth largest percentages compared to other states. Still, very few Iowans actually speak the language.