May 20th, 2014
04:55 PM ET

America's linguistic melting pot

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Here at GPS, we love deep data dives. We also revel in the fact that America continues to be the melting pot that it has always been. So we were interested to see a piece on last week analyzing the most common languages spoken in each state using U.S. census data.

This first map is predictable – other than English, Spanish is the most spoken language in almost all U.S. states. But watch what happens when you remove Spanish from the equation. Now there is the melting pot.

In Michigan, Arabic clocks in as the third most commonly spoken language.

In Minnesota, it's Hmong.

In Oregon, it's Russian.

It's Vietnamese in four states – Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Washington.

It's a Filipino language called Tagalog in Hawaii, California, and Nevada.

In four states, its Native American languages.

It's French in 11 states.

And in 16 states, it's German. If you're surprised at that number, according to recent census measures of countries of ancestry, people of German heritage outnumber all other groups in the United States – even Irish! Remember, until World War I, by some accounts, German was the second most widely spoken language in all of the United States. And that tradition seems to linger.

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Topics: GPS Show • Immigration • Last Look • United States

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. rupert

    German? Ha! Yes,it lingers. The only good thing out of the Germans are the Audi and lagar beer.
    That's it. Hitler wasn't worth a peanut. They lost the war, the big one. We GAVE them back some land out of mercey.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:03 pm | Reply
    • Obama'sGayRomneyFan

      Either you are the greatest troll on CNN (not much of an accomplishment, but hey, take 'em where you can get 'em) or you are just plain... "uneducated" to say the least

      May 21, 2014 at 12:45 am | Reply
    • Tom Posey

      As a German-American, I feel offended by your ignorant post above, rupert. For openers, the German language is far more beautiful than English which is not a pretty one and quite vulgar to boot! Then again, if my compatriots in Europe won the first world war, the second one would not have taken place. And finally, they invented the jet engine during WW2 for military purposes which in now used in commercial flying. Need I say more?

      May 21, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
      • Frank Okolo

        Frank Whittle (British) invented the jet engine, although it is generally recognized that the Germans built a WW2 prototype Messerschmitt 262 based on Whittle's design.

        May 21, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
      • Christina

        @Frank that's because the Germans stole the design from the British. Bunch of German thieves.

        May 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • maruf

      LOL Usa, Russia,Britain,France vs Germany . 4 versus 1. to that ratio its amazing germany was even able to continue the war for than 1 month

      May 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Reply
      • George patton

        Quite true maruf, quite true indeed. The German Army goes back to over a thousand years of tradition, having first been created by King Henry I also known as Heinrich der Fauler around 925 AD. After Kaiser Friedrich I died in the Third Crusade it went on to serve the Popes of Rome and became known as the Teutonic Knights who later conquered Prussia around 1249 AD. and finally, in 1871 became the German Army also known as the Wehrmacht.

        May 22, 2014 at 10:50 am |
    • Texas Annie

      What a nasty mean spirited post. You come off as a sad little uneducated troll. Your family must be SOOO proud.

      May 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Reply
      • Marsha

        Oh Texas Annie, I know just how you feel. There was no need for such a post. But this rupert guy seemed nice, until now.

        May 21, 2014 at 4:19 pm |
  2. chri§§y


    May 20, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  3. chri§§y

    Bet youre really making your mother proud arent you?

    May 20, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  4. rupert

    chrissy. Germans are low mean people. That race has contributed nothing to humanity.
    So STFU,

    May 20, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • kilkee526

      Yes, Germany has contributed nothing except Beethoven, Strauss, Goethe, Hegel, Einstein, and about half the important men of letters and science of the last couple of centuries. And I say that as an Irish American without a drop of German blood.

      May 20, 2014 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • Texas Annie

      I assume you know the name Rupert is of German origin.

      May 21, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • vanessa

      Hallo Rupert. I am not German but before you continue making a fool of yourself maybe you should check your ancestors. Seems that with the name like yours there must be some German blood running through your veins. And education will do you good and prevent future embarrassment. You don't have to read books. With today's technology for sure you will find a way. I am not going to mention any of their Great names and immaculate achievements. Do the homework yourself.
      Cheers and all the best.

      May 21, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  5. rupert

    I mean hitler is their hero. Just look at RZ. He has those two Schweitzer sighns.
    That swine has no shame of hitler

    May 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  6. Ferhat Balkan

    That's amazing. Vietnamese in Texas? I would've never guessed.

    May 20, 2014 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  7. chri§§y

    Youre just total trash @ rupert! And @ Ferhat, i know right? Lol

    May 20, 2014 at 9:06 pm | Reply
  8. ✠RZ✠


    May 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • rupert

      I do not recognize that language, RZ, and neither does dazzle.
      But whatever you wrote, DITTO.

      May 21, 2014 at 5:12 am | Reply
  9. chri§§y

    Lmao good evening @ RZ...your *ahem* little friend is quite the turncoat isnt he? Trashes you on one thread and loves you on another! Musta been bounced on his head a time or two i think...or maybe flashbacks lmao! And SPOT ON @ Kilkee526!

    May 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      Evidently chri§§y, he has much to learn. A festering toenail is one thing, but a diseased mind is entirely another.

      May 20, 2014 at 10:07 pm | Reply
  10. chri§§y

    Lmao thats too funny! I did read that he considers himself to be...a philosopher! Can you believe that sh!t? Lol

    May 20, 2014 at 10:14 pm | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      Philosophy, not religion, should be mandatory subject taught earlier on in the public education process rather than having to pay for it in college or university. But logic, being the prerequisite, must be learned first. Our "friend" would likely require an exorcism before trying on any of that. But hey, not my job.

      May 20, 2014 at 10:38 pm | Reply
      • rupert

        An exorcism huh? U need to be baptized, in a NY sewer.

        May 21, 2014 at 4:58 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

        @ RZ:
        if you asked each student in USA seventh-grade classrooms to define, without using a computer or a book, the words "logic" and "philosophy," your would probably be astounded.
        Then ask the corresponding students in Germany to define those words, and see what they say. Ask the Germans to reply in English.

        May 21, 2014 at 7:59 am |
    • rupert

      We are all philosophers chrissy. Some more some less.
      We think with our brain, but marvel with our mind.

      May 21, 2014 at 5:04 am | Reply
  11. chri§§y

    Of course Kermit the Frog thinks hes one also lol!

    May 20, 2014 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  12. chri§§y

    Lololol or a lobotomy! Just kidding....i really dont recommend that for anyond! Although i am a firm believer that certain sub~humanoids should be fitted with electric shock collars!!! Easier to Zap them back to reality ya know?

    May 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm | Reply
    • rupert

      Electronic shock collars, huh? Well, u need a f.l.e.a. collar

      May 21, 2014 at 4:54 am | Reply
  13. chri§§y

    And excellent point on the education process! Maybe we would produce fewer disrespectful young people if they had a little more insight on the physch part of people! Get rid of home ec (a big waste of time if you ask me) and introduce phylosophy!

    May 20, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • ✠RZ✠

      One can only hope. Have yourself a good night and we'll see what tomorrow brings.

      May 20, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Reply
  14. phd_angel

    German as third language?!... I doubt. These people are lying.

    May 20, 2014 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  15. chri§§y

    Whats to doubt? English is the 1st, spanish 2nd then german 3rd! Pretty simple really.

    May 20, 2014 at 11:22 pm | Reply
  16. chri§§y

    And most people i know have some german in their heritage, myself included...although the german customs were never part of my upbringing!

    May 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  17. chri§§y

    Lol yup gnite to you as well @ RZ...just remember midnite til 6am is primetime derpjoker im sure the festival of idiotville will have a great night also lol.

    May 20, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Reply
  18. John Smith

    I went to poop and it hurt. The doctor says I have colon cancer. I will die in six months. So not fair. Why me? I am soooo scared

    May 21, 2014 at 3:28 am | Reply
  19. stuart

    I'm sorry to hear that John. How is the doctor so sure?

    May 21, 2014 at 3:31 am | Reply
  20. John Smith

    Well, the doctor and nurse bent me over. Then they got some vaseline and smeared some in my tight pie hole. Then they smeared some in a long instrument. It was so cold. Then they stuck it up my asss. They took pictures too.
    Thats how the doctor knows.

    May 21, 2014 at 3:34 am | Reply
  21. stuart

    Oh my. What a traumatic experience, John Smith. I am sorry you have colon cancer. I don't mean to digress, but was that your first time John Smith, I mean with 12 inches up your asss?

    May 21, 2014 at 3:38 am | Reply
  22. John Smith

    Yes it was my first time. So I guess I am no longer an * a nal vir gin*
    The strange part was that it hurt, but felt good at the same time.
    I know I'm gay now.

    May 21, 2014 at 3:42 am | Reply
  23. stuart

    John Smith, good luck to u. I will put flowers in your grave later this year when you are DEAD!!!

    May 21, 2014 at 3:43 am | Reply
  24. Roberto

    It is "USA" not "America",


    The rest of real America.

    May 21, 2014 at 9:24 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Thank you, Roberto. Your attempt to clarify the difference will be appreciated by many, but such conceptual mentation eludes many USA citizens and residents who have earned doctorates.

      May 21, 2014 at 9:43 am | Reply
  25. chri§§y

    Lol my point was proven! Hence....the posts between 12 and 6 am!

    May 21, 2014 at 9:36 am | Reply
  26. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    This makes me feel good that people are not all speaking English here in America as was the case. Canada is a multilingual country as we should also be. As an Italian-American, I feel ashamed that my Spanish is far better than my Italian but on the other hand, German is the most beautiful language of all and the Germans have contributed a great deal to modern society and I feel proud to be at least in part, German.

    May 21, 2014 at 10:07 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

      Non sono italiano.
      I know only a few Spanish words, but I speak Italian. I'm trying to bring my French up to the level of my Italian, but even living in New York City I put little effort into learning Spanish.

      May 21, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Reply

    I speak Sepedi, which is spoken by Pedi people from South Africa. So, there are African languages in USA as well.

    May 21, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Reply
  28. Kathy crumley

    Well on a more positive note . I live in a small southern town. One of our restaurants is owned by a Jewish family, one of are local motels is owned by an Indian family ( not or Native American ) our Chinese restaurant and my priest is Nigerian they are all wonderful people who come from beautiful countries and I for one am glad to know all of them .,

    May 21, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  29. chri§§y

    Awesome post @ Kathy and i agree! One of my dearest friends is from Nigeria and i cant imagine not knowing her! And it pains me that she is suffering due to recent events in her homeland!

    May 21, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  30. Doc Roc

    They left out Ebonics.

    May 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      That they did, Doc Roc. If black pupils do better in Ebonics, then teach them in Ebonics just as if Hispanic pupils learn better in Spanish, then by all means teach them in Spanish!

      May 22, 2014 at 10:53 am | Reply
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