Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages in Each State

Source: Thinkstock

36. Oklahoma
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 21,360
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.5%

The percentage of people who have Vietnamese ancestry and who speak the language at home in Oklahoma are actually the same, both 0.5%.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

37. Oregon
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 21,998
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.5%

This vast, mountainous state has one of the most popular foreign languages nationwide as its top. The number of people who have ancestors from Vietnam is quite similar to the number of Vietnamese speakers in Oregon. There’s only a slight difference of about 1,000 people more who have ancestry but don’t currently speak the language at home.

38. Pennsylvania
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 77,156
> Chinese-speaking population: 0.6%

Of the near 13 million people that populate Pennsylvania, close to 1% of the population have ancestors hailing from China.

Source: John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

39. Rhode Island
> Most popular language: Portuguese
> Residents who speak Portuguese at home: 34,453
> Portuguese-speaking population: 3.3%

More than 7% of Rhode Island’s population has Portuguese ancestry, the highest share compared with all states. That’s quite a difference compared to the 3.3% who currently speak the language at home.

Source: Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons

40. South Carolina
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 12,974
> German-speaking population: 0.3%

German ancestry again far surpasses the number of people who actually speak the language in South Carolina. Approximately 7% of the population has ancestors from Germany, while only 0.3% speak German.