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Study: Nearly 30 percent of Arizonans do not speak English at home

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

PHOENIX — While they may speak English out in public, nearly 30 percent of Arizonans speak a language other than English when they’re at home, a study said.

The study by the Center for Immigration Studies, which cited U.S. Census statistics, said 27 percent of Arizona residents do not speak English at home. According to Steven Camarota, the study’s co-author, that figure is up 10 percent since June 2010.

“As recently as 1980, in Arizona, only about a half-million people spoke a language other than English at home,” he said. “Now it’s 1.7 million.”

The study found that, nationwide, about 40 million people speak Spanish at home, by far the largest number of any foreign language. That large majority held true in Arizona as well, where Camarota said Spanish-speakers count for 90 percent of those who do not speak English at home.

“You do have people from lots of places in Arizona, but Spanish predominates at 90 percent,” Camarota said.

The study said about 28.5 million people who speak a different language at home were born in the United States.

The state with the largest number of foreign-language speakers at home was California, where 45 percent speak something other than English. That was followed by Texas at 35 percent, New Mexico at 34 percent, and New York and New Jersey, both at 31 percent.

The study found that the fastest-growing language spoken at home is Arabic, followed by Hindi, Urdu, Chinese, French Creole and Gujarati.

In addition to Spanish, at least 1 million Americans speak one of six languages at home: Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, French, Arabic and Korean.

KTAR’s Jeremy Foster contributed to this report.

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