Languages Spoken in the United States: 15 Largest Metro Areas

We hear foreign languages spoken every day. The United States draws people from many countries around the world and the diversity of languages spoken in the United States (in U.S. homes) is at least 350. While some U.S. cities (like New York, Miami and Los Angeles) have higher immigrant and LEP populations, there are approximately 25.1 million Limited English Proficient individuals across the United States, representing 8% of the total U.S. population.

A 2015 U.S. Census Bureau report identified language diversity in the largest U.S. metro areas. Let’s take a look at the language diversity in the United States in the 15 largest metropolitan areas:
 

Languages Spoken in the United States: 15 Largest Metropolitan Areas


 

Language Diversity for the 15 largest metro areas in the United States:

 
New York

  • Languages spoken in New York homes: At least 192
  • Percentage of New York metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 38%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 22.6% (native speakers)
  • Bengali is one of the smaller language groups in New York: 105,765 speakers

Los Angeles 

  • Languages spoken in Los Angeles homes: At least 185
  • Percentage of Los Angeles metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 54%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 39.4% (native speakers)
  • Indonesian is one of the smaller language groups in Los Angeles: 12,750 speakers

Chicago 

  • Languages spoken in Chicago homes: At least 153
  • Percentage of Chicago metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 29%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 39.4% (native speakers)
  • Serbian is one of the smaller language groups in Chicago: 17,490 speakers

Dallas

  • Languages spoken in Dallas homes: At least 156
  • Percentage of Dallas metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 30%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 33.9% (native speakers)
  • Telugu is one of the smaller language groups in Dallas: 12,630 speakers

Philadelphia

  • Languages spoken in Philadelphia homes: At least 146
  • Percentage of Philadelphia metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 15%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 9.3% (native speakers)
  • Malayalam is one of the smaller language groups in Philadelphia: 10,370 speakers

Houston

  • Languages spoken in Houston homes: At least 145
  • Percentage of Houston metro area population that speaks a language other than English at home: 37%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 33.7% (native speakers)
  • Tamil is one of the smaller language groups in Houston: 4,690 speakers

Washington D.C.

  • Languages spoken in Washington D.C. homes: At least 168 
  • Percentage of Washington D.C. population that speaks a language other than English at home: 26%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 7.55% (native speakers)
  • Amharic is one of the smaller language groups in Washington D.C.: 43,125 speakers

Miami

  • Languages spoken in Miami homes: At least 128
  • Percentage of Miami population that speaks a language other than English at home: 51%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 62.9% (native speakers)
  • Romanian is one of the smaller language groups in Miami: 5,295 speakers

Atlanta

  • Languages spoken in Atlanta homes: At least 146
  • Percentage of Atlanta population that speaks a language other than English at home: 17%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 4.09% (native speakers)
  • Swahili is one of the smaller language groups in Atlanta: 4,195 speakers

Boston

  • Languages spoken in Boston homes: At least 138
  • Percentage of Boston population that speaks a language other than English at home: 23%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 15.1% (native speakers)
  • Albanian is one of the smaller language groups in Boston: 6,800 speakers

San Francisco

  • Languages spoken in San Francisco homes: At least 163
  • Percentage of San Francisco population that speaks a language other than English at home: 40%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Chinese, 17.2% (native speakers)
  • Panjabi is one of the smaller language groups in San Francisco: 19,985 speakers

Detroit

  • Languages spoken in Detroit homes: At least 126
  • Percentage of Detroit population that speaks a language other than English at home: 12%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 6.27% (native speakers)
  • Syriac is one of the smaller language groups in Detroit: 23,175 speakers

Riverside, California

  • Languages spoken in Riverside homes: At least 145
  • Percentage of Riverside population that speaks a language other than English at home: 40%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 30.8% (native speakers)
  • Dutch is one of the smaller language groups in Riverside: 2,425 speakers

Phoenix

  • Languages spoken in Phoenix homes: At least 163
  • Percentage of Phoenix population that speaks a language other than English at home: 26%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 27.6% (native speakers)
  • Pima is one of the smaller language groups in Phoenix: 3,050 speakers

Seattle

  • Languages spoken in Seattle homes: At least 166
  • Percentage of Seattle population that speaks a language other than English at home: 22%
  • Most Common Non-English Language: Spanish, 3.95%  (native speakers)
  • Ukrainian is one of the smaller language groups in Seattle: 15,850 speakers

*Sources for languages spoken in the United States in the 15 largest metro areas: U.S. Census Bureau, datausa.io

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There’s no doubt about it, languages spoken in the United States are quite diverse! With the growing diversity of languages in the U.S., interpreters and translators are valuable assets in creating understanding. From medical interpreting to legal translation, from business to 911 emergency, professional interpreters and translators help provide effective communication.

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