Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Language in Each State

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11. Hawaii
> Most popular language: Ilocano
> Residents who speak Ilocano at home: 64,660
> Ilocano-speaking population: 4.5%

Ilocano is the third-largest language spoken in the Philippines, with an estimated 7 million people there speaking it as a first language. Only 105,578 people in the U.S. speak the language, with more than half living in Hawaii. Nearly 65,000 state residents speak Ilocano, about 4.5% of the state’s population.

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12. Idaho
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 4,552
> German-speaking population: 0.3%

Idaho is one of seven states where German is the most commonly spoken foreign language, after Spanish. More than 11% of Idaho’s population has documented German ancestry, a much larger share than the mere 0.3% who speak German at home.

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13. Illinois
> Most popular language: Polish
> Residents who speak Polish at home: 183,401
> Polish-speaking population: 1.4%

Illinois has both the largest number of residents who speak Polish and have Polish ancestry. There are 183,401 people who speak Polish in the state, the most of any state. For perspective, the next largest Polish-speaking population resides in New York, at just 96,337. Chicago has an especially heavy concentration of Polish people who migrated to the city over a century ago.

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14. Indiana
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 31,121
> German-speaking population: 0.5%

Nearly 17% of residents in Indiana have German ancestry, far greater than the 0.5% of state residents who speak the language at home. German remains the most commonly spoken foreign language in Indiana after Spanish.

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15. Iowa
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 13,445
> Chinese-speaking population: 0.4%

Chinese is the leading foreign language in Iowa, not including Spanish. Despite it being the most commonly spoken foreign language, only 0.4% of the Midwest state’s population currently speaks the language at home, and only about 0.5% have Chinese ancestry.