48% Of US Residents In Top 5 Cities Don't Speak English At Home; 67 Million Overall

Almost half of all US residents in the top five largest cities, or 48%, do not speak English at home according to the latest Census Bureau data. 

The Washington Examiner reports that the new report, conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), also reveals that "As a share of the population, 21.8 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home — roughly double the 11 percent in 1980." Overall, roughly 67 million residents don't speak English at home

In New York City and Houston it is 49 percent; in Los Angeles it is 59 percent; in Chicago it is 36 percent; and in Phoenix it is 38 percent. -CIS

In terms of population, Spanish is the most commonly spoken language at home at 41 million residents in 2017, up from 37 million in 2010. Chinese is the next most common language at 3.4 million using it primarily at home. 

In terms of the fastest growing non-English languages spoken at home, Telugu experienced the most rapid growth, followed by Bengali, Tamil, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi.

Ranking non-English speakers by state, California leads the pack, followed by Texas, New Mexico, New Jersey, Nevada and New York.

In terms of percentage growth by state, Washington D.C. experienced the largest percent growth in non-English speaking homes between 2010 and 2017, followed by Wyoming, North Dakota, Utah, Delaware, Nevada, Maryland and Nebraska. 

The study comes amid several reports of altercations over the use of English, such as last week's report about a couple who was refused service at a Florida Taco Bell because they did not have any English speaking employees. 

In another case last May, a New York man threatened to call immigration police if customers and employees didn't stop speaking English in a restaurant. 

Among the top findings from the CIS report: 

  • In 2017, a record 66.6 million U.S. residents (native-born, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants) ages five and older spoke a language other than English at home. The number has more than doubled since 1990, and almost tripled since 1980.
  • As a share of the population, 21.8 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home — roughly double the 11 percent in 1980.
  • In America's five largest cities, 48 percent of residents now speak a language other than English at home. In New York City and Houston it is 49 percent; in Los Angeles it is 59 percent; in Chicago it is 36 percent; and in Phoenix it is 38 percent.
  • In 2017, there were 85 cities and Census Designated Places (CDP) in which a majority of residents spoke a foreign language at home. These include Hialeah, Fla. (95 percent); Laredo, Texas (92 percent); and East Los Angeles, Calif. (90 percent). Perhaps more surprisingly, it also includes places like Elizabeth, N.J. (76 percent); Skokie, Ill. (56 percent); and Germantown, Md., and Bridgeport, Conn. (each 51 percent).
  • Nearly one in five U.S. residents now lives in a city or CDP in which one-third of the population speaks a foreign language at home. This includes Dale City, Va. (43 percent); Norwalk, Conn., and New Rochelle, N.Y. (each 42 percent); and Aurora, Colo., and Troy, Mich. (each 35 percent).
  • In contrast to many of the nation's cities, in rural areas outside of metropolitan areas just 8 percent speak a language other than English at home.
  • The data released thus far indicates that nationally nearly one in four public school students now speaks a language other than English at home. In California, 44 percent of school-age (5-17) children speak a foreign language at home, and it's roughly one-third in Texas, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Florida.
  • Of school-age children (5-17) who speak a foreign language at home, 85 percent were born in the United States. Even among adults 18 and older, more than one-third of those who speak a foreign language at home are U.S.-born.
  • Of those who speak a foreign language at home, 25.9 million (39 percent) told the Census Bureau that they speak English less than very well. This figure is entirely based on the opinion of the respondent; the Census Bureau does not measure language skills.