Language is such an important part of our everyday life, and many people in the United States come from widely diverse language backgrounds. Two thirds of all English speakers in the world live in the United States, but we also have the fifth largest Spanish speaking population in the world. Here are some interesting facts about our country and the languages that we speak.
The United States does not have an official language
Although 80 percent of Americans speak English, the United States does not have an official language. The Continental Congress did not declare an official language when creating the laws of the United States. This was due to the vast amount of languages that were spoken in the States at the time. Many settlers spoke Dutch, Spanish, French and German, but there were also thousands of Native American languages. Since then, the linguistic landscape of America has remained widely diverse, and there is still no official language.
The United States has more Spanish speakers than Spain
Our country is the home to the second largest Spanish speaking population in a country, with 52.6 million people Spanish speakers living in the U.S. according to a report from Instituto Cervantes. The Spanish-speaking population of the United States has grown 210 percent since 1980, and according to the report and U.S. Census data, by 2050, the United States will surpass Mexico with the most Spanish speakers at 132.8 million people.
California is a hotspot for different languages
According to the 2011 U.S. Census, California is home to about 15 million people who do not speak English at home. This adds up to about 5 percent of the United States’ population alone! Spanish is the most popular non-English language in California with around 10 million speakers, and there are also a lot of Asian languages that are well represented in the state.
According to the U.S. Census, about 3,375,028 people who primarily speak Asian languages live in California. The most popular Asian language used in California is Tagalog, a native language of the Philippines. Filipinos account for over 1.5 million of the state’s population.
French is still growing in the United States
Some people may assume that because French is not as popular in schools anymore, it is not used as much as it once was. Contrary to this belief, over 1.3 million people speak French in the United States, which is a 28 percent increase since 1980. Most Francophone communities are located in areas near French Canada, such as Northeast Maine. Louisiana is an exception to this because many people in rural Louisiana speak Cajun, a dialect of French, that has been passed down from generation to generation since the French controlled Louisiana back before the United States bought the territory in 1803.
Arabic is a growing language in the United States
Nearly a million people speak Arabic in the United States now, and the population has grown nearly four times since 1980. A large number of American Arabic speakers live in the Detroit Metropolitan area, specifically Dearborn, which accounts for 30 percent of its population of Arab descent. The growth of Arabic speakers in Michigan originated with Henry Ford’s famous invention. People immigrated from the Middle East during the early 20th century to work in Ford’s auto factories, thus bringing the Arabic language and culture to Michigan and the United States!