Top Languages Spoken by English Language Learners Nationally and by State
While English Language Learner (ELL) students in the United States speak more than 150 languages, Spanish is by far the most common home or first language, but is not the top language spoken by ELLs in every state. This fact sheet, based on analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, documents the top languages spoken by ELLs nationwide and on a state level.
Chinese, Vietnamese, and French/Haitian Creole followed Spanish as most-spoken ELL languages nationally, though of the remaining top ten languages no other language accounted for more than 2 percent of the total. A language other than Spanish was the top language spoken by ELLs in only a handful of states. In 28 states, more than two-thirds of ELL students speak the same home language: Spanish.