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Language in the State Where You Live

A Census Bureau study shows that there are states in the U.S. where Arabic, Dakota and Yupik are the third-most commonly used language.

| BY Kent McDill

English is the not the national language of the United States, but it is the most prevalent. Spanish is catching up fast.

But there are a lot of other languages spoken frequently in the United States, and there is a definite regional influence in terms of what languages can be heard most often.

The website Slate used data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to determine the most popular language in every state of the union other than English or Spanish.

The No. 1 winner at coming in third is German, which is the predominant language other than English or Spanish in 17 states. It includes the Upper Plains states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, as well as the Great Plains and Midwestern states like Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky.

The influence of French explorers remains in many states and is the most commonly spoken language other than English or Spanish in 11 states, including Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, and running along the Eastern seaboard down to the Carolinas, but also in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Interestingly, the influence also exists in Florida, but the third language most commonly spoken there is French Creole.

To see the map, click here.

After German and French, the most commonly spoken language other than English and Spanish is Vietnamese, which is the leading No. 3 language in four states – Washington, Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska.

Now, it’s going to get interesting.

Three states in the Union – Hawaii, California and Nevada - are most likely to speak Tagolog after English and Spanish. Tagalog is the first language of the Philippines.

Italian and Portuguese are popular in two states on the East Coast each, while Georgia and Virginia report a high rate of Korean being spoken. In New Mexico and Arizona, the third language most often spoken is Navajo.

There are several states that stand alone in the third-most popular language spoken. They are Illinois (Polish), Michigan (Arabic) Minnesota (Hmong, a language spoken in China, Vietnam and Thailand), New York (Chinese), Oregon (Russian) and South Dakota (Dakota).


About the Author

Kent McDill

Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.

In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.

McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.

McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy  Buffett and all things Disney.