Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Language in Each State

Cheyenne Buckingham

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26. Montana
> Most popular language: Other Native North American
> Residents who speak Other Native North American languages at home: 7,421
> Other Native North American languages-speaking population: 0.7%

Montana is home to at least seven federally recognized Native American peoples. The most commonly spoken foreign language in the state is a group of Native American languages not counted among the 217 Native American languages the Census Bureau tracks. More than 44,800 residents in Montana have Native American ancestry.

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27. Nebraska
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 7,399
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.4%

An estimated 1.5 million people speak Vietnamese in the U.S. Of the 1.9 million people living in Nebraska, nearly 7,400 speak the language, or about 0.4% of the population. Unlike most states, the number of people who speak the most common foreign language in Nebraska is greater than the number of people with the respective ancestry. Only 5,968 residents have Vietnamese ancestry.

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28. Nevada
> Most popular language: Tagalog
> Residents who speak Tagalog at home: 67,066
> Tagalog-speaking population: 2.3%

California and Nevada are the only two states where the most common foreign spoken language, not including Spanish, is Tagalog. Of the 2.9 million residents in Nevada, 67,066 speak Tagalog, one of the languages spoken in the Philippines. While the Filipino population in Nevada is not nearly as high as the Spanish population — over one in five state residents speak Spanish at home — the Filipino population is considered the fastest-growing minority in the state. In Nevada, 2.3% of the population speaks Tagalog, and 4.2% have documented Filipino ancestry.

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29. New Hampshire
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 17,417
> French-speaking population: 1.3%

French is the leading foreign language, after Spanish, in New Hampshire, although the difference is not great. Just 2.1% of state residents speak Spanish, while 1.3% speak French. In addition, nearly one in 10 New Hampshire residents have French ancestry, likely because New Hampshire is one of four New England states that border Quebec, Canada’s French-speaking province.

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30. New Jersey
> Most popular language: Chinese
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 98,550
> Chinese-speaking population: 1.1%

After Spanish, the next most commonly spoken foreign language in New Jersey is Chinese. Of the near 9 million people who live in New Jersey, about 152,000 have Chinese ancestry, more than the 98,550 state residents who currently speak the language at home.