The Most Commonly Spoken Foreign Languages In Each State

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Massachusetts
> Most popular language: Portuguese
> Residents who speak Portuguese at home: 194,006
> Portuguese-speaking population in Massachusetts: 2.99%
> Massachusetts’s total population: 6,850,553

The largest Portuguese festival in the world — the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament — takes place in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The whaling industry in the 19th century drew Portuguese sailors to Massachusetts from the Azores and the Cape Verde Islands.

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Michigan
> Most popular language: Arabic
> Residents who speak Arabic at home: 145,135
> Arabic-speaking population in Michigan: 1.54%
> Michigan’s total population: 9,965,265

Michigan is one of two states where Arabic is the leading spoken foreign language, aside from Spanish. There are about 145,000 state residents who speak the language, or 1.54% of the population. Michigan is home to the largest share of residents with Lebanese and Iraqi ancestry, both of which are Arabic-speaking countries.

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Minnesota
> Most popular language: Amharic, Somali, or other Afro-Asiatic languages
> Residents who speak Amharic, Somali, or other Afro-Asiatic languages at home: 83,546
> Afro-Asiatic languages-speaking population in Minnesota: 1.60%
> Minnesota’s total population: 5,563,378

Afro-Asiatic languages are languages of common origin found in the northern part of Africa, Western Asia, and the Arabian Peninsula. Globally, about 250 Afro-Asiatic languages are spoken today by approximately 250 million people worldwide. In the U.S., the only state where these languages are most common, after Spanish and English, is Minnesota.

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Mississippi
> Most popular language: Vietnamese
> Residents who speak Vietnamese at home: 6,599
> Vietnamese-speaking population in Mississippi: 0.24%
> Mississippi’s total population: 2,984,418

Mississippi is one of five states with Vietnamese as its most commonly spoken foreign language, aside from Spanish. Like many states along the Gulf Coast, Mississippi received immigrants from Vietnam after the war ended there more than four decades ago. Many Vietnamese immigrants opened shrimp-fishing businesses along the Gulf Coast.

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Missouri
> Most popular language: Chinese (incl. Mandarin, Cantonese)
> Residents who speak Chinese at home: 23,480
> Chinese-speaking population in Missouri: 0.41%
> Missouri’s total population: 6,104,910

Until a few years ago, German was the most commonly spoken foreign language in Missouri, after Spanish. Today, German is currently the third most common foreign language in the state after Spanish and Chinese. Chinese immigrants started moving in the St. Louis area in the 1860s, looking for job opportunities in mines and factories.

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