According to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, non-English speakers are more populous in Texas than every other state except California.
The Austin metropolitan area reflects the state trend: about 28 percent of residents speak a foreign language at home, more than the national average of 20.8 percent.
With 34.7 percent of residents speaking a foreign language, Texas claims 12 of the 57 metropolitan areas examined in the report. Laredo, Texas has the highest percentage of the population who spoke a foreign language, 92.1 percent.
State demographer Lloyd Potter says these types reports are important because they inform government and business officials how to better serve residents.
In the report, the Census Bureau cites immigration as a major factor in language trends: Spanish is still the dominant foreign language in the United States, but other languages have seen a dramatic increase over past decade. Asian and Middle Eastern languages have dramatically increased from 2000-2011 according to the report.
“Without question, the Asian dialects are likely to increase just because the Asian population in Texas is increasing faster than any other population,” Potter says. But he notes it would take decades for the Asian population to grow as large as the Hispanic population in Texas.
The Census Bureau’s 2011 Language Mapper allows users to click and zoom their way to a better understanding of language distribution in the United States. Clusters of purple dots show if Spanish, French, French Creole, Polish, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, Portuguese, German, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic and Tagalog (commonly spoken in the Philippines) is spoken in an area. Check out the map online.