Telugu, Bengali and Tamil are the fastest growing foreign languages in the United States


  • A report by the Centre of Immigration Studies shows that the number of Telugu-speaking residents has grown by 86% over the past 7 years.
  • Bengali comes in second, followed by Tamil in third place with an increase of 57% and 55% respectively.
  • Even Hindi made into the top five with a 42% increase.
While Spanish may be the most widely spoken language in the United States, Telugu, Bengali and Tamil have all shown rampant growth over the past seven years. A report by the Centre of Immigration Studies highlights how nearly half of the residents of the five biggest cities of the United States speak a language other than English at home. And, the fastest growth has been recorded by Telugu with an 86% increase between the years of 2010 to 2017.

Aside from Telugu, eight of the 10 fastest growing foreign languages in the United States are languages that are also spoken in India. Bengali and Tamil showed a growth of 57% and 55% respectively as the second and third most rapidly growing foreign languages.

Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi came in 5th, 6th and 7th with Gujarati coming in 9th.

And while Telegu may be the fastest growing foreign language, Hindi is the still most commonly spoken language of Indian-origin with 863,077 people.

It’s also interesting to note that the overall growth in the number of people speaking foreign languages in the United States has grown by 12%. That being said, that are instances of languages like German, Polish and Italian having recorded negative growth.

The numbers game

According to data collected by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations, United States has normally been the most popular or the second most popular destination for Indian migrants. This is especially true for students pursuing higher education.

And, a report by Quartz points out that the largest number of engineers sent from India to the United States were from the Telugu-speaking city of Hyderabad.

In fact, India has the second-highest number of students going abroad for studies, after China. And it’s not just the United States. India consistently records the largest number of citizens living abroad. In 2017, that number was at 17 million.

The language graph

The American states of Washington D.C., Wyoming and North Dakota have recorded the highest percentage of growth of foreign language speaking residents, while Maine, South Dakota and New Mexico exhibited negative growth.

But, in terms of overall numbers, California has the largest proportion of foreign language speaking citizens will 44% of people speaking a language other than English at home.

(Image source: Earth Observatory/NASA)



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View As: One Page Slides

10. Haitian

10. Haitian

9. Gujarati

9. Gujarati

8. Chinese

8. Chinese

7. Punjabi

7. Punjabi

6. Urdu

6. Urdu

5. Hindi

5. Hindi

4. Arabic

4. Arabic

3. Tamil

3. Tamil

2. Bengali

2. Bengali

1. Telugu

1. Telugu
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