Sep 7, 2023 - News

The Californians who speak a non-English language at home

Share of Californians who speak a language other than English at home
Data: U.S. Census American Community Survey; Chart: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Nearly half of all Californians speak a language other than English at home, data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

Why it matters: Over 1 in 4 people in the state are foreign-born.

  • Across California, Spanish is the most-spoken language other than English, followed by Chinese, Tagalog and Hindi.

Yes, but: In San Francisco, it's flipped.

  • Over 148,000 people in the local population speak Chinese at home, while more than 89,000 speak Spanish.
  • Variations of Filipino and Vietnamese are also among the top most-spoken languages among the city's residents, per data compiled by the San Francisco Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs.

Of note: City departments are required to provide language access services anytime San Francisco counts over 10,000 residents with limited English proficiency who speak a shared language.

  • These services are currently available in Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin), Spanish and Tagalog.

What to watch: The larger Bay Area records Arabic, Chinese and Korean as some of the fastest-growing languages across its nine counties, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

  • Supervisor Shamann Walton is spearheading legislation to strengthen the city's language access ordinance, which includes increasing bilingual staffing and improving language services planning and coordination for crises and emergencies.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios San Francisco.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More San Francisco stories

No stories could be found

San Franciscopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more