Census: Big jump in non-English speakers

Top of list: Spanish, Chinese, Russian

Non-English speakers

  • State Population Percent
  • Ind. 5,657,818 6.4
  • Mich. 9,268,782 8.4
  • Ill. 11,547,505 19.2

Nearly one in five Americans speaks a language other than English at home, the Census Bureau says, after a surge of nearly 50 percent during the past decade. Most speak Spanish, followed by Chinese, with Russian rising fast.

Some 47 million Americans 5 and older used a language other than English in 2000, the bureau said. That translates into the nearly one in five, compared with roughly one in seven 10 years earlier.

There were also more people considered "linguistically isolated" because of limited English, a situation that some analysts say can prevent people from assimilating fully into American society and hinder activities like grocery shopping or communicating with police or fire officials.(Summarized from the South Bend Tribune)

Top 20 languages

The top 20 languages other than English most frequently spoken at home in the United States, and the number of people 5 and older who speak those languages, according to the 2000 census:

Language • Number

Spanish • 28,101,052

Chinese • 2,022,143

French • 1,643,838

German • 1,382,613

Tagalog • 1,224,241

Vietnamese • 1,009,627

Italian • 1,008,370

Korean • 894,063

Russian • 706,242

Polish • 667,414

Arabic • 614,582

Portuguese • 564,630

Japanese • 477,997

French Creole • 453,368

Greek • 365,436

Hindi • 317,057

Persian • 312,085

Urdu • 262,900

Gujarathi • 235,988

Armenian • 202,708