Spanish Leads Among United States’ English Language Learners

Spanish leads the nation as the top language spoken at home by United States’ English Language Learners. In a fact sheet recently published by the Migration Policy Institute outlining the top languages spoken by United States’ English Language Learners, 71% of ELLs speak Spanish at home followed by Chinese at 4%.

united states' english language learners


The fact sheet further notes that Spanish predominates in many states. In 45 states and the District of Columbia, more than two-thirds of the states’ ELL students spoke Spanish as their home language. Furthermore, it is the most common language spoken by ELLs in states with the largest ELL student population. The ELL student population is comprised of students enrolled in the nation’s K-12 public schools during the 2012-13 school year. The states with the largest ELL student population are California, Texas, Illinois, New York, and Florida, each comprising an ELL Spanish speaking population of more than 60%.

top language among united states' english language learners

The MPI used data provided by the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and the U.S. Department of Education’s Consolidated State Performance Reports to compile the fact sheet.

The Latino Family Literacy Project™ is an English Language Development program for Spanish speakers. Our curriculum focuses on parent involvement with the intent of helping non-English speaking parents learn how to read in English with their children, acquire a second language, and build meaningful relationships with their school and educators. To learn more about The Latino Family Literacy Project™, visit our website and attend a workshop or webinar.