Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Language in Each State

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16. Kansas
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 11,595
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.4%

Excluding Spanish, the most commonly spoken foreign language in Kansas is Vietnamese. However, only 0.4% of the population speaks Vietnamese compared with the 7.3% who speak Spanish.

Source: Thinkstock

17. Kentucky
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 11,537
> German-speaking population: 0.3%

German and Chinese are the most frequently spoken foreign languages in all states, each the most spoken in seven states. In Kentucky, German is the most commonly spoken foreign language after Spanish. While only 0.3% of state residents speak the language at home, 10.1% have documented German ancestry.

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18. Louisiana
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 70,887
> French-speaking population: 1.5%

Not surprisingly, French is the most commonly spoken foreign language in Louisiana. Does Mardi Gras ring any bells? Nearly one in 10 Louisiana residents have French ancestry.

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19. Maine
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 31,205
> French-speaking population: 2.3%

Maine, which shares a border with the French-speaking part of Canada, is home to quite a few French speakers — about 2.3% of residents speak the language at home, and 11.4% have French ancestry. When removing Spanish from the equation, French is the leading foreign language in five states.

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20. Maryland
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 55,312
> Chinese-speaking population: 0.9%

Of Maryland’s 6 million residents, some 55,300 speak Chinese — not even a full 1% of the population. Still, Chinese is the leading foreign language behind Spanish — 7.7% of state residents speak Spanish at home.