Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages in Each State

Cheyenne Buckingham

Source: Christopher Nicol / Wikimedia Commons

31. New Mexico
> Most popular language: Navajo
> Residents who speak Navajo at home: 60,322
> Navajo-speaking population: 2.9%

The second state to have the most Navajo speakers, New Mexico also has a considerable amount of the state’s population has Native American ancestry. Specifically, a little over 5% of the population.

Source: Thinkstock

32. New York
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 395,933
> Chinese-speaking population: 2.0%

Nearly 20 million people inhabit the state of New York. According to the Census nearly 600,000 people in the state have Chinese ancestry. In other words, it is likely that around two-thirds of the people who have Chinese ancestry speak a form of Chinese in New York.

Source: jessicasarahs / Flickr

33. North Carolina
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 26,381
> French-speaking population: 0.3%

Almost 1% of the population in North Carolina have French ancestry, 89,807 to be exact. While Spanish dominates the near 11% of languages other than English spoken in North Carolina, French doesn’t follow too far behind, making it the most popular spoken foreign language under this list’s requirements.

Source: Thinkstock

34. North Dakota
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 7,272
> German-speaking population: 1.0%

Like in many other states with German as the most spoken foreign language, while only 1% of the population in North Dakota regularly speaks German in their households, a far larger share of the population, 30.5%, have German ancestry.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

35. Ohio
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 54,328
> German-speaking population: 0.5%

Surprise. Ohio also has a large population with German ancestry, 19% to be exact. Yet less than 1% currently speak the language at home. Regardless, it’s still the most commonly spoken foreign language, behind Spanish. Also, Cincinnati, Ohio holds a killer German Festival every September called the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. The event attracts up to 500,000 people each year.