Hindi and Gujarati fastest growing Indian languages in the US

South Indian languages grow at rapid pace too.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: A US Census report indicates that roughly 650,000 people in the US speak Hindi, while over 800,000 in general speak some Indian language at home. None of these languages are among the top 10 spoken in the US, but they are proof of a huge growth in the Indian-American population over the past decade.

The exact figures are 648,983 for Hindi (an increase of 105% since the last census), 373,851 for Urdu (42% growth), 358,422 for Gujarati (52% growth), and 815,345 for Indian languages in general.

The growth percentages for some languages are staggeringly high, even if the actual number of speakers is not as high as the aforementioned one. Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam speakers have grown by 115%. Bengali, Marathi, and Punjabi have grown by 86%.

Indians languages in total make up 2.2% of the foreign languages spoken in the US, which may seem low compared to the 37.6% of Spanish (the highest in the country by far), but is quite strong given that Indians only make up about 1% of the US population. After Spanish is Chinese at 2.8%, and then Indian languages in third.

The Census Bureau says that it’s important to keep in mind that its survey only asks what languages are spoken in each household, not necessarily how often the languages are spoken, so it’s impossible to give a ratio of English to foreign language in any of this.

To contact the author, email to deepakchitnis@americanbazaaronline.com

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