Discover the rich tapestry of languages spoken across the United States in this latest study from Word Finder. Using data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, it reveals the most widely spoken languages, excluding English and Spanish, in every U.S. city and state.
From the German-inflected communities of North Dakota and Wisconsin to the Tagalog speakers in western cities like Las Vegas, it shows how America’s linguistic landscape is as diverse as its people.
Most Popular Languages Across the USA
After taking English and Spanish out of the equation, German became the most widely spoken language across the USA. It came out top in 13 states, including North Dakota and Wisconsin.
These two states form what is known as the USA’s “German Belt.” It describes the areas which saw a large influx of German migrants during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
You can still see the influence today. North Dakota and Wisconsin are famous for German-inspired architecture, foods, and cultural events, including annual Oktoberfest celebrations.
Most Spoken Languages in the Western U.S. Cities
Tagalog is the most spoken language in many western U.S. cities, including Las Vegas and Reno.
The national language of Filipinos, Tagalog has a rich vocabulary and a complex system of affixes for conjugating verbs. It incorporates words from Spanish, Malay, and Chinese.
Vietnamese is Widely Spoken in the Southwest Cities
Vietnamese is the number one language in Glendale, Oklahoma City, and Houston, as well as several other major US cities across the Southwest.
You’ll also hear plenty of Chinese if you spend time in Mesa or Chandler, Arizona.
Gujarati comes out on top in Laredo, Texas. Gujarati is primarily spoken in the Indian state of Gujarat and among the Gujarati diaspora worldwide, many of whom migrated to the United States during the 1960s. The language has a rich literary history and was the mother tongue of Mahatma Gandhi.
Speaking French in the USA
Almost 10 million people living in the USA claim French heritage. Many of their ancestors settled in cities across the Midwest.
You can hear their influence in cities like Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Cleveland, where French is the number one spoken language after English and Spanish.
Languages in Southeastern Cities
Haitian is the most widely spoken language after English and Spanish in two southeastern cities: Miami and Orlando.
Florida is a major hub for the Haitian diaspora in the United States, which fled its home nation due to social, political, and economic factors, including political instability and natural disasters like the 2010 earthquake.
It All Sounds a Bit Greek in the Northeast
Wilmington, North Carolina, is the only US city where Greek is most widely spoken after English and Spanish.
We can say the same for Portuguese and Newark, New Jersey. Fans of The Sopranos might have expected the Italian language to dominate in Newark. However, many Italian immigrants who settled in Newark left during the late 1960s.
Most Spoken Languages in New York
Around 800 languages are spoken in New York City. This incredible diversity is due to the large immigrant populations that have settled in the city over the years, coming from virtually every part of the world.
Of these 800 languages that aren’t English or Spanish, none are spoken more than Chinese and Russian in the Big Apple.