The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages In Each State

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

> Most popular language: Arabic
> Residents who speak Arabic at home: 23,909
> Arabic-speaking population in Tennessee: 0.38%
> Tennessee’s total population: 6,709,356

Arabic is the most commonly spoken foreign language, aside from Spanish, in Tennessee, even though only 0.38% of state residents speak the language. The number of people in the U.S. identifying as having Arabic-speaking ancestry increased by more than 84% between 2000 and 2010. Just about 24,000 people identify as having Arab ancestry in Tennessee. The largest number of new Arab immigrants came from Egypt, Iraq, and Sudan.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 221,068
> Vietnamese-speaking population in Texas: 0.84%
> Texas’s total population: 28,260,856

In Texas, the leading foreign language after Spanish is Vietnamese, though only 0.84% of the population currently speak it at home. A considerably larger share of state residents speak Spanish, at nearly 29.3%. This is likely because Texas is one of the states bordering Mexico.

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> Most popular language: Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 15,761
> Chinese-speaking population in Utah: 0.55%
> Utah’s total population: 3,096,848

Chinese is the most commonly spoken foreign language in Utah, recently overtaking Portuguese. (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.) The first Chinese immigrants to move to Utah in the 1860s were railroad workers who were building the Transcontinental Railroad.

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> Most popular language: French (incl. Cajun)
> Residents who speak French (incl. Cajun) at home: 8,385
> French-speaking population in Vermont: 1.41%
> Vermont’s total population: 624,313

Vermont is home to a considerable share of residents with French ancestry. This is not surprising since Vermont is one of four New England states that border Quebec, Canada’s French-speaking province.

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> Most popular language: Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 62,068
> Chinese-speaking population in Virginia: 0.78%
> Virginia’s total population: 8,454,463

Of the nearly 8.5 million people who call Virginia home, over 62,000, or 0.78% of the state’s population, speak a form of Chinese language at home. Still, Chinese languages are the leading foreign languages in Virginia after Spanish, which 7.3% of the Virignians speak at home. Most of Virginia’s residents with Asian ancestry live in Herndon, Fairfax, Vienna, Blacksburg, and Manassas Park.

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