Census Data Shows Record High 61.8 MILLION People In USA Speak Foreign Language In Homes

Eric Owens | Editor

The number of people living in the United States who speak a language other than English in their homes has now reached an all-time high.

The latest data, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, shows that some 61.8 million people in America — or over 20 percent of all residents — speak a foreign language at home. The number has increased by 2.2 million since 2010.

The figures come from an analysis of census data by the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that favors reduced immigration.

The figures include everyone living in the United States — their citizenship and immigration status notwithstanding.

The languages which have seen the biggest increases since 2010 in number of speakers have been Spanish, Chinese and Arabic.

In terms or actual people, the Spanish language has gained 1.4 million new at-home speakers in America since 2010. There are 220,000 new Chinese at-home speakers and 188,000 new at-home Arabic speakers.

In percentage terms, Arabic has seen a 22-percent spike in the number of people currently in the U.S. who speak the language at home. Chinese has seen an eight-percent growth spurt. Spanish is up just four percent.

Urdu — one of the many languages spoken in both Pakistan and India — is next on the growth list at 13 percent.

Overall, according to census figures, 38.4 million people living in the United States speak Spanish in their homes. About three million speak Chinese. Some 1.6 million speak Filipino or Tagalog. America’s homes also have 1.4 million Vietnamese speakers, 1.3 million French speakers, one million Korean speakers and one million Arabic speakers.

Many of these people also speak English. However, over 40 percent indicated that speak English at some level that is less than “very well.”

In California, 44 percent of all school-aged children speak a foreign language at home. About a third of all students in Texas, New York and Nevada do. Other states are experiencing substantial foreign language growth as well. In five states — Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Nebraska and Delaware — the number of students living in homes where a language that is not English is spoken is now one in seven.

The number of people living in the U.S. who speak some language besides English at home has increased steadily and dramatically in recent decades. In 1980, 11 percent of all people residing in the U.S. spoke a language other than English at home. In 1990, it was 14 percent. At the turn of this century, it was 18 percent. The percentage now stands at 21 percent.

The Center for Immigration Studies notes that many people living in the U.S. who don’t speak English at home are not immigrants. Over 27 million of them were born right here in the United States.

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