Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages in Each State

Cheyenne Buckingham

Source: Thinkstock

16. Kansas
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 16,417
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.6%

Vietnamese is the most commonly spoken foreign language in Kansas, and six other states, making it the second most frequently occurring language on this list. According to the Census, 18,011 people have Vietnamese ancestry. That’s not too far off from the number of residents who speak Vietnamese at home.

17. Kentucky
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 17,638
> German-speaking population: 0.4%

While only 17,638 people reportedly speak German in Kentucky, 457,999 residents have German ancestry.

Source: faungg's photos / Flickr

18. Louisiana
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 76,924
> French-speaking population: 1.6%

It’s no surprise that the most popular foreign language in Louisiana is French. Why? Two words: Mardi Gras. Close to one in every 10 Louisiana residents has French ancestry.

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19. Maine
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 33,524
> French-speaking population: 2.5%

This northernmost New England state is home to many French speakers. In fact, 11% of the population has French ancestry.

Source: Thinkstock

20. Maryland
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 50,393
> Chinese-speaking population: 0.8%

Maryland has a population of just over 6 million people. Of that, only 1.3% have Chinese ancestry, which is one half a percent more than those who actually speak it. Yet, Chinese still is the top foreign language spoken in the state, aside from Spanish.