Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Language in Each State

Source: DC_Colombia / Getty Images

41. South Dakota
> Most popular language: Dakota languages
> Residents who speak Dakota languages at home: 10,786
> Dakota languages-speaking population: 1.3%

The leading foreign language in South Dakota other than Spanish is Dakota. Dakota, along with Lakota, are two native American peoples that speak the Siouan languages of the Great Plains.

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Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

42. Tennessee
> Most popular language: Arabic
> Residents who speak Arabic at home: 23,707
> Arabic-speaking population: 0.4%

Arabic is the most commonly spoken foreign language, aside from Spanish, in Tennessee, even though only 0.4% of state residents speak the language. Those who identified as having Arabic-speaking ancestry in the U.S. Census increased by more than 84% between 2000 and 2010. The largest number of new Arab immigrants came from Egypt, Iraq and Sudan.

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43. Texas
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 212,857
> Vietnamese-speaking population: 0.8%

In Texas, the leading foreign language after Spanish is Vietnamese, even though only 0.8% of the population currently speaks it at home. A considerably larger share of state residents speak Spanish, at nearly 29.5%. This is likely because Texas is one of the bordering states with Mexico.

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Source: CodyHaskell / Getty Images

44. Utah
> Most popular language: Portuguese
> Residents who speak Portuguese at home: 9,134
> Portuguese-speaking population: 0.3%

Portuguese is the most commonly spoken foreign language in three East Coast states — and Utah. Utah is home to an ever-growing Brazilian population, likely due to the Mormon Church’s influence on Brazilian immigration in the early 20th century.

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45. Vermont
> Most popular language: French
> Residents who speak French at home: 8,449
> French-speaking population: 1.4%

Vermont is home to a considerable share of residents with French ancestry. Vermont also has the fifth-highest French-speaking population nationwide. Not surprising since Vermont is one of one of four New England states that border Quebec, Canada’s French-speaking province.

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