More than half of the San Jose metro doesn’t speak English at home; 370,000 residents aged 5 and older don’t speak English
By Sharon Simonson
More than 2.5 million residents of the San Francisco Bay Area speak a language other than English at home, a vastly greater proportion of the region’s 5.9 million residents than in the nation at large, according to new U.S. Census Bureau research. More than a million Bay Area residents also say they don’t speak English very well.
The data, which encompasses the U.S. population age 5 and older, is among the most comprehensive the Census Bureau has ever published on languages spoken in the United States. The research found that 60.4 million U.S. residents, or 21 percent of the 291 million people age 5 and older, speak one of at least 350 languages other than English when they are at home.
That includes Spanish, spoken by 37.5 million people, and Chinese including Cantonese and Mandarin spoken by nearly 3 million people nationally. More than 1.6 million people speak Tagalog, the official language of the Philippines, and 1.4 million U.S. residents speak Vietnamese at home. Nearly 175,000 people speak Navajo and another nearly 200,000 speak an assortment of 149 other Native American tongues.
More than half of the San Jose metro area’s age 5 and older population, or nearly 900,000 of the 1.7 million people total, and 40 percent of the San Francisco-Oakland metro area of 4.1 million people say they speak a language other than English at home.
In the San Jose metro area, 370,000 people said they don’t speak English very well. That includes 62 percent of native Vietnamese speakers, 48.5 percent of native Chinese speakers, and 43.5 percent of native Spanish speakers.
In the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metro, 44 percent of the metro area’s population or more than 736,000 people say they can’t speak English. That includes 58 percent of the 350,000 people who say they speak Chinese at home and 53,000 of the 155,000 speakers of Tagalog.
Of the 15 largest U.S. metro areas including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., only Los Angeles and Miami show percentages of residents speaking languages other than English at home comparable to the Bay Area. Fifty-four percent of Los Angeles residents aged 5 and older — more than 6.5 million people —speak a language other than English at home. Of those, 46 percent, or three million people, say they can’t really speak English. Two of those three million say they speak Spanish.
In Miami, 51 percent of residents aged 5 and older, or 2.7 million people, speak a language other than English at home — Spanish for 2.1 million of them. About 1.25 million Miami residents say they can’t really speak English. To access the Census Bureau data sorted by county or metropolitan area, go here.