The Most Commonly Spoken Language in Every U.S. State (Besides English and Spanish)
The Most Common Spoken Household Languages
We typically operate under the assumption that most Americans speak either English or Spanish. Though this is true in the broadest sense, the U.S. is a culturally diverse country, home to a plethora of languages.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) annually asks more than 1 million Americans questions about their lives, families, and backgrounds. One question asks respondents what language they mainly speak in their homes.
Migration Policy has used this data (while excluding English and Spanish) to leave us with the next-most-frequently spoken languages at home in each state.
Non-English Languages in the U.S.
In 2019, approximately 78% (241 million) of all 308.8 million people ages five and older reported speaking only English at home regardless of their nativity. The remaining 22% (67.8 million) reported speaking a language other than English at home.
Based on this data, Mandarin and Cantonese were the most common non-English, non-Spanish languages spoken in the U.S., with more than 3.4 million speakers across the country.
Here is a list of the most common languages spoken at home in the U.S., outside of English:
|Language||Population Estimate||Share of Foreign Language Speakers|
|Cantonese and Mandarin||3,495,000||5.2%|
|French and Louisiana French||1,172,000||1.7%|
|West African Languages||589,000||0.9%|
|West Germanic Languages||560,000||0.8%|
Tagalog is the second most commonly spoken language in American households (after English/Spanish) with 1.7 million speakers, even though it only reaches top spot in Nevada. Unsurprisingly, Louisiana and states bordering eastern Canada have a healthy number of French speakers.
Further analysis of these common languages reveals a fascinating story. Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 most commonly spoken second languages (excluding English and Spanish), and the states where they’re spoken.
1. Cantonese and Mandarin
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 3,495,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 17
States that most commonly speak the language: California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Alabama, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
Chinese immigrants have been coming to America in large numbers since the mid-19th century, when the California Gold Rush compelled them to cross the Pacific Ocean. Today, there are over 5 million Chinese Americans across the country.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,764,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 1
States that most commonly speak the language: Nevada
Immigrants from the Philippines started coming to America in large numbers by the turn of the 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1965 that both skilled and educated workers came by the thousands. Today, there are over 4 million Filipino Americans.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,571,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 5
States that most commonly speak the language: Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Georgia.
South Vietnamese immigration to the U.S. began right after the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and more Vietnamese people have been arriving ever since. Today, over half of all Vietnamese-Americans live in either California or Texas.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,260,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 2
States that most commonly speak the language: Michigan and Tennessee
Michigan alone has over 140,000 Arabic speakers. California has over 190,000 speakers. Pew Research Center noted that Arabic is the fastest-growing language in the U.S., with speakers growing by 29% from 2010 to 2014.
Estimated number of speakers nationally: 1,172,000
Number of states where it’s the most common: 4
States that most commonly speak the language: Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire.
After the Louisiana Purchase, French evolved from its original form, creating Louisiana French which also borrows words from English, Spanish, Native American, and African languages. To this day, it’s still spoken by around 175,000 people in Louisiana and Texas.
The United States: A Multilingual Country
Although English, in all its diversity, is unquestionably the country’s dominant national language, the U.S. has always had a complex multilingual history. Long before European settlers colonized North and South America, thousands of indigenous languages thrived from coast to coast. Today, some Indigenous languages are making a comeback as many states acknowledge their importance in the history and culture of the country.
With each new wave of immigrants residing in the country from every part of the globe, the linguistic and cultural diversity of the United States is growing.
The U.S. has one of the largest Chinese populations outside China, a demographic shift that may increase in the coming years. Spanish is now the most popular second language of the country.
America is home to the largest population of English speakers in the world, but bilingualism has been on the rise in the country for decades – a trend that shows no signs of letting up.
Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
The daily routines of 16 famous creatives—poets, thinkers, scientists and even politicians—are charted for comparison with each other.
Visualized: The Daily Routines of Famous Creatives
What is the best daily routine to unlock creativity, or is there such a thing?
Many modern suggestions for optimizing creativity—like scheduling time for “deep work,” and building small, sustainable “atomic habits”—can be traced back to famous creatives in many different eras. And though they all found success, they employed different methods as well.
In this unique visualization, RJ Andrews from InfoWeTrust has charted how notable creatives in different fields spent their days. He picked 16 of the 161 “inspired minds” covered by Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, a book by writer and editor Mason Currey published in 2013.
How Much “Creativity Time” in Famous Daily Routines?
Dividing the day into 24 hours, Andrews denoted certain categories for daily activities like working creatively, sleeping, and other miscellaneous endeavors (meals, leisure, exercise, and social time).
For the creatives with a separate day job—Immanuel Kant and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart—their ordinary labor is also counted in miscellaneous activities.
Below is a breakdown of the daily routine of all 16 people featured above:
|Name||Occupation||Creative (hrs)||Sleep (hrs)||Miscellaneous (hrs)|
|Honoré de Balzac||Novelist||13.5||8.5||2|
|L.V. Beethoven||Composer / Pianist||8||8||8|
|Charles Darwin||Naturalist / Biologist/ Geologist||7||8||9|
|Benjamin Franklin||Writer / Inventor / Scientist / Statesman||8||7||9|
|W.A. Mozart||Composer / Pianist||8||5||11|
The average and median amount of time spent on creative work for these individuals was just over 8 hours a day. At the extremes were two French novelists, Honoré de Balzac with 13.5 hours daily spent on creative work, and Victor Hugo with only 2 hours.
Interestingly, the allocation of creative work time was different in almost every daily routine. Maya Angelou’s routine resembles the modern work day, with the bulk of her writing between 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Others like Kant and Mozart had creativity blocks when time allowed, such as before and after their teaching jobs.
Then there are outliers like Honoré de Balzac and Sigmund Freud, who worked as much as they could. Balzac wrote from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with just an hour and a half nap break in between, fueled by up to 50 cups of coffee. Freud split up his creative work into three different blocks: analyzing patients in the morning, consulting in the afternoon, and reading and writing journals into the late evening.
But somewhere in their days, most of these brilliant minds made sure to get a good rest, with an average of 7.25 hours of sleep across the board.
Schedule Yourself to Create Success
Creativity may ebb and flow, but these great minds had one clear thing in common: scheduling time for creative work.
The perfect daily routine was usually what fit in with their lifestyle (and their bodies), not based on an arbitrary amount of work. For example, night owls with later chronotypes worked late, while socialites and politicians found time outside of their commitments.
They also found time to move and enjoy life. Half of the people in the dataset specified exercise in their accounts—either leisurely strolls or fast walks. Many also scheduled social time with partners, friends, or children, often paired with a meal.
Perhaps the greatest insight, however, is that the day-to-day routine doesn’t have to look extraordinary to be able to create extraordinary work.
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