While 78% of Americans speak only English at home, between 350 and 430 languages can be found in the United States.
Spanish is the second most common language, spoken in 62% of non-English-speaking households.
German is the Most Spoken Language in 13 States
During the mid-18th century, German immigrants played a significant role in early American society. They constituted one-third of the population of American colonies, ranking second in numbers only to the English.
As a consequence, German now stands as the third most prevalent language in 13 states, with over 40 million Americans claiming German ancestry.
|State||Most Spoken Language (Besides English and Spanish)|
|District of Columbia||French|
|South Dakota||Dakota languages|
From military aid to ideological support, France played a pivotal role in the success of the American Revolution. More than two centuries later, approximately 9.4 million people in the U.S. claim French or French-Canadian ancestry.
In the Midwest, French stands as the most spoken language (following English and Spanish) in four major cities.
In the Midwest’s largest city, Chicago, Polish is the third-most common spoken language.
Asian Languages in the American West
The American West is home to 45% of all U.S. Asians, making Asian languages the most spoken in many cities, following English and Spanish.
Tagalog is the most spoken language in nine cities, ranging from Anchorage, Alaska, where half of the local Asian community is Filipino, to Las Vegas, Nevada, home to one of the largest Filipino-American communities in the country.
Chinese dominates in California and Washington, while Japanese ranks as the third most common language in Hawaii.
The Most Spoken Languages in New York
In the late 1800s, people worldwide chose to emigrate to the United States, leaving their homes due to crop failure, land and job shortages, rising taxes, and famine. Many also saw the U.S. as a land of economic opportunity.
More than 70% of all immigrants entered through New York City, which came to be known as the “Golden Door.”
As a result, the city today has an eclectic mix of languages.
While numerous languages across America thrive, some face imminent extinction. These include rare regional dialects, like the Pawpaw French in Minnesota, and indigenous languages.
According to the National Congress of American Indians, all surviving Native American languages are severely endangered, with over 90% of them at risk of extinction by 2050.
Various initiatives, including leveraging technology, have been proposed to ensure the preservation of the diverse cultures and languages in the U.S.