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Against the odds, English is on the rise in four US states

Teacher Kennis Wong (R) points to Chinese characters on a board at Broadway Elementary School in Venice, Los Angeles, California, April 11, 2011. The school launched one of only two English-Mandarin Chinese dual-language immersion programs in the Los Angeles Unified School District in September 2010.
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Why learn one when you can learn two?
By Nikhil Sonnad
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

California, Texas, and New Mexico have long been the most multilingual states in the US. In those places, over half of kids aged eight or younger have a parent who speaks a language other than English at home.

Other states are catching up, though. Between 1980 and 2015, the proportion of dual language-learning kids increased by a staggering 29 percentage points in Nevada, from 16% to 45%. In Florida, New Jersey, and Washington, the proportion went up by over 20 points, according to our analysis of the US census.

Here are the states where kids are becoming multilingual the fastest:

Most of this is attributable to Spanish. But other languages are contributing, too. In New Jersey, where the proportion of kids with a Spanish-speaking parent went up by 14 percentage points, Indian languages also rose five points. Chinese, Arabic, Korean, and others provided additional increases.

It seems that in Maine, meanwhile, English is becoming even more dominant.

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