In the United States, there are over 40 million people aged 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home. This represents around 13.5% of the total U.S. population. The most common non-English languages spoken in U.S. homes are Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Korean.
– Around 40 million people aged 5+ in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home. This is about 13.5% of the total population.
– The most common non-English languages are Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Arabic, French, and Korean.
– States with the highest percentages of non-English speakers are California, Texas, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, and Illinois.
Languages Spoken in the U.S.
Here is a breakdown of the top 10 non-English languages spoken in U.S. homes according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey:
|Language||Number of Speakers||Percentage of U.S. Population|
As shown, Spanish is by far the most predominant non-English language spoken in U.S. households. There are over 41 million Spanish speakers, accounting for 13.5% of the total U.S. population aged 5 and over. Chinese is a distant second with around 3.4 million speakers or 1.1% of the population.
States With Highest Percentages of Non-English Speakers
The states that have the highest percentages of residents who speak a language other than English at home are:
- California (44.2%)
- Texas (35.7%)
- New Mexico (35.4%)
- New York (29.7%)
- New Jersey (29.5%)
- Nevada (28.5%)
- Florida (28.4%)
- Arizona (27.3%)
- Hawaii (26.5%)
- Illinois (22.3%)
This list highlights states with large Hispanic/Latino populations such as California, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Florida, and Arizona where Spanish is prevalently spoken. States like New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Illinois also made the top 10 due to their diverse urban areas.
Non-English Speakers by Age Group
Here is a breakdown of the number and percentage of people in different age groups who speak a non-English language at home:
|Age Group||Number of Non-English Speakers||Percentage of Age Group|
|5-17 years||9.3 million||16.7%|
|18-64 years||28.4 million||13.1%|
|65 years and over||2.5 million||8.6%|
Children and working-age adults are more likely to speak a non-English language at home compared to seniors 65 and older. This may be due to factors like older non-English speakers passing away and younger generations assimilating more to English.
Race/Ethnicity of Non-English Speakers
Looking at race and ethnicity, non-English speakers come from diverse backgrounds, but the largest groups are:
- Hispanic/Latino (34.8 million)
- Asian (8.3 million)
- Other (2.7 million)
- White (2.6 million)
- Black (1.3 million)
The vast majority of non-English speakers come from Hispanic/Latino backgrounds where Spanish dominates. Asian language speakers such as Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese are also prevalent. Multiracial and other minority groups account for most of the rest.
Although the number of non-English speakers is substantial, its proportion relative to the total U.S. population has declined over the past few decades:
- In 1980 it was 23.1%
- In 1990 it was 17.9%
- In 2000 it was 18.7%
- In 2010 it was 20.8%
- In 2019 it was 13.5%
This decline is largely attributed to increased English proficiency by non-English speakers and shifts in immigration patterns over time. However, in absolute numbers, the non-English speaking population has still grown reflecting broader population growth.
While the overall non-English speaking population percentage has fallen, the number of Spanish speakers has seen steady growth:
- In 1980 it was 11 million
- In 1990 it was 17.3 million
- In 2000 it was 28.1 million
- In 2010 it was 37 million
- In 2019 it was 41 million
So Spanish remains the most widely spoken non-English language by a growing margin due to immigration trends from Latin America.
Although English is the predominant language in the U.S., there are still over 40 million residents aged 5 and over who speak other languages at home. Spanish is by far the most common at 41 million speakers, followed by significantly smaller but still sizable Chinese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese speaking populations. States like California, Texas, and New Mexico with large Hispanic populations have the highest concentrations of non-English speakers. Overall, the non-English speaking percentage of the U.S. population has declined over the past few decades, but Spanish speakers continue to grow. Understanding non-English speaking demographics and trends remains vital for government agencies, businesses, advocacy groups, and others serving these diverse communities.