Special Report

The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Language in Every State

Source: TomasSereda / Getty Images

New York
> Most popular language: Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 587,279
> Chinese-speaking population in New York: 3.19%
> New York’s total population: 19,572,319

New York is home to the second largest Chinese-speaking population in the nation. More than 587,000 people in the state speak a Chinese language, or 3.19% of the state’s population.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

North Carolina
> Most popular language: Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 37,438
> Chinese-speaking population in North Carolina: 0.39%
> North Carolina’s total population: 10,264,876

North Carolina is one of four states where French is the most commonly spoken language aside from English and Spanish. Towns with significant French-speaking populations include Waves and Corolla, on the Outer Banks, and Caroleen.

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North Dakota
> Most popular language: German
> Residents who speak German at home: 5,621
> German-speaking population in North Dakota: 0.80%
> North Dakota’s total population: 756,717

While just over 5,600 North Dakota residents speak German at home, about a third of people in the state have German ancestry. German is the leading foreign language after Spanish, with 0.8% of the population speaking it — about 1 percentage point less than the 1.8% who speak Spanish.

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> Most popular language: Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch or other West Germanic languages
> Residents who speak Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch or other West Germanic languages at home: 54,186
> West Germanic languages-speaking population in Ohio: 0.49%
> Ohio’s total population: 11,655,397

Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch, or other West Germanic languages have overtaken Arabic and Chinese as the most commonly spoken foreign languages in Ohio after Spanish. However, the difference is small — 44,168 (0.40%) residents speak Arabic, 46,420 (0.42%) residents speak a Chinese language, and 54,186 (0.49%) speak Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch or other West Germanic languages.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 18,298
> Vietnamese-speaking population in Oklahoma: 0.50%
> Oklahoma’s total population: 3,932,870

The most commonly spoken foreign language other than Spanish in Oklahoma is Vietnamese. Oklahoma City has a Vietnamese community, with many living in an area also known as “Little Saigon,” which is home to restaurants, supermarkets, and nightlife.

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