TALK IT OVER

All 300-plus languages spoken in American homes, and the number of people who speak them

Obsession
Language
Obsession
Language

This item has been corrected.

Every year, the US Census Bureau releases data on the languages spoken in American homes. Usually it groups the languages in 39 major categories. Now it has released much more detailed figures, which show that Americans speak not 39, but more than 320 distinct languages.

The bureau collected the data from 2009 to 2013 as part of the American Community Survey, which asks Americans all kinds of questions to create highly granular estimates on various demographic indicators. The new data estimate that more than 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home.

Included are 150 Native American languages, as well as relatively obscure ones like Pennsylvania Dutch, Icelandic, Mongolian, and many others. The data estimate that Sudanese, for example, is spoken at home by only 35 Americans. Patwin, spoken by a group of Americans native to northern California, it estimates at just four speakers.

The data also show which cities have the most linguistic diversity. New York is home to 192 distinct languages; Los Angeles, 185.

The full list of the hundreds of languages spoken in American homes is included below—minus 32 languages for which the bureau withheld the raw number of speakers, likely out of concern that the number would be small enough to let anyone de-anonymize the data.

Spanish, spoken at home by more than 37 million Americans, is far and away the largest non-English language used in the US. It’s followed by “Chinese,” which probably mostly refers to Mandarin (even though that has its own category, confusingly enough).

Language Speakers
Spanish 37,458,470
Chinese 1,867,485
Tagalog 1,613,346
Vietnamese 1,399,936
French 1,253,560
Korean 1,117,343
German 1,063,275
Arabic 924,374
Russian 879,434
French Creole 739,725
Italian 708,966
Portuguese 692,500
Hindi 643,337
Polish 580,153
Mandarin 487,250
Cantonese 458,840
Japanese 449,475
Urdu 397,502
Persian 391,113
Gujarati 373,253
Kru, Ibo, Yoruba 322,255
Greek 304,932
Bengali 257,740
Panjabi 253,740
Telugu 247,760
Armenian 237,840
Hmong 214,943
Hebrew 212,747
Mon-Khmer, Cambodian 212,167
Amharic 195,260
Tamil 190,685
Navajo 166,826
Yiddish 155,582
Romanian 154,625
Thai 152,649
Laotian 152,647
Ukrainian 152,325
Malayalam 146,310
Serbocroatian 144,675
Dutch 141,580
Albanian 133,870
Pennsylvania Dutch 133,190
Cushite 122,445
Turkish 116,515
Nepali 94,220
Swahili 88,685
Hungarian 86,406
Ilocano 85,755
Formosan 77,675
Syriac 74,725
Marathi 73,630
Serbian 70,260
Indonesian 67,410
Samoan 64,135
Burmese 62,645
India, not classified 61,385
Bulgarian 57,785
Bantu 56,685
Swedish 55,735
Croatian 53,040
Kannada 48,620
Czech 47,385
Lithuanian 39,790
Norwegian 39,430
Patois 32,900
Tongan 31,440
Fulani 30,475
Karen 30,185
Mande 29,835
Bisayan 29,800
Danish 28,285
Slovak 27,930
Sinhalese 26,745
Hawaiian 26,205
Finnish 25,805
Afrikaans 23,010
Macedonian 22,885
Pashto 22,760
Jamaican Creole 21,965
Cajun 21,285
Irish Gaelic 20,590
Chamorro 19,780
Yupik 19,750
Mien 19,010
Marshallese 18,485
Dakota 17,855
Kurdish 17,020
Tibetan 16,730
Latvian 16,035
Sebuano 15,700
Malay 14,580
Apache 13,445
Keres 13,190
Pakistan, not classified 12,605
African 12,320
Cherokee 11,465
Krio 10,560
Mongolian 10,180
Ojibwa 9,735
Choctaw 9,635
Zuni 9,615
Caucasian 8,980
Sindhi 8,965
Uighur 8,905
Trukese 8,790
Chadic 8,565
Sudanic 8,510
Micronesian 7,830
Mayan languages 7,650
American Indian 7,110
Pima 6,990
Nilotic 6,890
Uncodable 6,760
Inupik 6,740
Slovene 6,370
Hopi 6,075
Estonian 6,035
Fijian 5,755
Efik 5,620
Pampangan 5,620
Oriya 5,385
Oto – Manguen 5,100
Icelandic 4,865
Tewa 4,620
Muskogee 4,465
Pidgin 4,445
Crow 4,160
Palau 4,140
Ponapean 3,525
Arawakian 3,150
Berber 2,940
Wu 2,670
Catalonian 2,325
Pangasinan 2,265
Welsh 2,235
Tiwa 2,180
Azerbaijani 2,085
Munda 2,030
Shoshoni 2,000
Mohawk 1,945
Towa 1,925
Cheyenne 1,920
Ute 1,895
Basque 1,860
Bielorussian 1,805
Kashmiri 1,775
Winnebago 1,720
Scottic Gaelic 1,635
Romany 1,555
Kazakh 1,480
Gondi 1,470
Fuchow 1,450
Blackfoot 1,450
Hakka 1,350
Salish 1,350
Gur 1,310
Melanesian 1,305
Paiute 1,305
Assamese 1,305
Quechua 1,300
Sahaptian 1,295
Kuchin 1,285
Nilo-Hamitic 1,275
Eskimo 1,270
Athapascan 1,265
Tlingit 1,240
Kusaiean 1,165
Dravidian 1,150
Chibchan 1,095
St Lawrence Island Yupik 1,070
Arapaho 1,065
Cham 1,050
Algonquian 1,030
Seneca 1,015
Comanche 1,015
Aleut 995
Potawatomi 985
Papia Mentae 970
Ottawa 965
Carolinian 945
Cree 870
Passamaquoddy 845
Kickapoo 820
Nez Perce 805
Balinese 795
Oneida 770
Kiowa 750
Aztecan 720
Malagasy 720
Yapese 720
Mbum (and related) 715
Rajasthani 715
Bikol 695
Yaqui 640
Hidatsa 625
Bihari 595
Kirghiz 550
Paleo-siberian 530
Kachin 520
Frisian 510
Jicarilla 510
Mokilese 500
Luxembourgian 500
Javanese 495
Pomo 485
Omaha 480
Maori 460
Karok 445
Tadzhik 435
Polynesian 435
Karachay 420
Osage 420
Menomini 405
Fox 400
Gullah 385
Alabama 370
Hawaiian Pidgin 365
Delta River Yuman 365
Koasati 365
San Carlos 360
Mono 355
Yurok 350
Nubian 305
Ponca 305
Walapai 300
Diegueno 295
Yuma 290
Mikasuki 290
Nilo-Saharan 270
Upper Chinook 270
Shawnee 255
Yavapai 245
Tupi-Guarani 245
Delaware 240
Tuscarora 240
Tungus 235
Okanogan 230
Foothill North Yokuts 225
Washo 215
Puget Sound Salish 215
Kutenai 215
Nukuoro 210
Mapuche 210
Micmac 205
Klamath 205
Turkmen 205
Mohave 200
Mountain Maidu 200
Balochi 185
Haida 180
Kwakiutl 175
French Cree 170
Gilbertese 170
Iroquois 165
Yuchi 165
Chasta Costa 165
Arikara 155
Picuris 155
Chiricahua 155
Sierra Miwok 155
Makah 150
Clallam 145
Quinault 145
Havasupai 145
Woleai-Ulithi 140
Wintun 135
Marquesan 135
Ladino 130
Tokelauan 125
Miami 115
Caddo 115
Chiwere 105
Rarotongan 95
Pawnee 95
Coeur d’Alene 95
Misumalpan 95
Burushaski 95
Tanaina 90
Saharan 80
Penobscot 75
Mandan 75
Luiseno 75
Onondaga 75
Pacific Gulf Yupik 70
Hupa 70
Chetemacha 65
Koyukon 65
Tarascan 60
Cahuilla 60
Han 60
Sonoran 60
Abnaki 55
Atsina 55
Santiam 55
Khoisan 55
Tonkawa 50
Kan, Hsiang 50
Ossete 50
Ahtena 45
Chinook Jargon 45
Ulithean 40
Tsimshian 40
Sundanese 35
Saramacca 35
Cocomaricopa 35
Faroese 30
Kalispel 30
Northern Paiute 30
Wyandot 30
Other Athapascan-Eyak 25
Other Uralic languages 20
Cupeno 20
Kansa 20
Ingalit 15
Minangkabau 15
Siuslaw 10
Upper Chehalis 4
Patwin 4

The four Patwin speakers thank you for making it all the way to the end of this list.

Correction: An earlier version of the table in this post omitted several languages which the US Census Bureau defines as belonging to their own language sub-groups. We apologize for the error.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search