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What is the preferred second language for Americans?

Nearly 1-in-5 people, or 47 million US residents age 5 and older, spoke a language other than English at home in 2000, the US Census Bureau has said. Among those who spoke a language other than English at home were almost 11 million additional Spanish speakers. The West was home to more than one-third (37 percent) of all those who spoke a language other than English at home, the highest proportion of any region. California led the states (39 percent), followed by New Mexico (37 percent) and Texas (31 percent). After English (215.4 million) and Spanish (28.1 million), Chinese (2 million) was the language most commonly spoken at home, eclipsing French, German, and Italian over the decade of the 1990s. Of the 20 non-English languages spoken most widely at home, the largest proportional increase in the 1990s was Russian. Speakers of this language nearly tripled. The second largest increase was among French Creole speakers (including Haitian Creoles), whose numbers more than doubled. The West and South together had about three times the number of Spanish speakers as the Northeast and Midwest combined.

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