How Many US Children Speak a Second Language at Home?

In 2010, about 22% of children in the United States spoke a language other than English at home. The most commonly spoken second language was Spanish, followed by Chinese. Other languages often used in bilingual or multilingual homes include Korean, Tagalog and French. The US Census Bureau tracks the use of non-English languages in homes to better understand the needs of children and their educators, as well as the needs of residents and citizens who might benefit from government communications written in languages other than English.

More about bilingualism:

  • Some neuroscientists believe that bilingualism is good for children and adults because it might improve cognitive functioning and even forestall dementia.

  • About 45% of California households were bilingual/multilingual in 2010. West Virginia had the lowest percentage of bilingual/multilingual families — about 2%.

  • The US Census Bureau's survey showed that there were 134 American tribal languages spoken in US households.

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Discussion Comments


Everyone in this country should learn a second language, but their first language should be English.

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