November 3, 2015
Asian-American immigrants have more difficulty mastering English
Those who speak Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese at home are less proficient in English
than Spanish-speakers according to striking findings the Census Bureau released Tuesday
that suggest some Asians may have a tougher time mastering English than Hispanics.
Overall, Americans speak more than 350 different tongues at home, including some
150 Native American languages, some of which have so few speakers that the bureau
declined to release the totals for fear that it would identify actual individuals.
And in the country’s largest cities, English is actually a minority language: A staggering
54 percent of residents in the Los Angeles metropolitan region speak a language other
than English at home, as do 51 percent of Miami-area residents, 40 percent of
San Francisco, 38 percent of New York, 37 percent of Houston and 36 percent of the
Washington, D.C., region.
The data, gleaned from Census information from 2009 to 2013, found 60.3 million
residents, or more than one in five people over the age of 5, speaks a language other
than English at home. Spanish is the top alternative, with 37.5 million home speakers,
followed by Chinese with 2.9 million home speakers.
Other top languages with more than 1 million home-speakers were French, German,
Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog. Arabic, meanwhile, was nearing the 1 million mark.