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Top 10 Languages of Missouri

languages of missouri

As is the case in more than half of all US states, the official language of Missouri is English. English is spoken by the vast majority of residents, but it’s by no means the only language used in the state.
Missouri – like most states – is actually incredibly diverse, and those who immigrate to the area often maintain their language after arriving. In many cases, the languages spoken reflect both modern and historical immigration patterns in the region. Here’s a look at Missouri’s immigration history, followed by the top ten languages of Missouri, not including English.

Missouri Immigration History

Initially, the only inhabitants of Missouri were indigenous people. Many of those that originally called the area home were forcibly moved during European expansion, particularly during the early 19th century during the Trail of Tears.

However, Europeans began arriving far earlier than that incident. French settlers made their way into the region that’s now Missouri during the 18th century. By the 19th century, more immigrants arrived, particularly those from England, Ireland, and Germany.

In time, the larger cities that were developing began attracting immigrants from different areas. Greeks, Italians, and Poles began forming their own communities. Jews also headed to the region, and by the time of World War II, Missouri was home to approximately 20 European ethnic groups.

While the majority of immigrants were of European descent, African Americans also headed to the area, often leaving the South. Once the 21st century began, more than 10 percent of the state’s population was of African descent, with most of those residents heading toward larger cities.

In the latter part of the 20th century, there was a significant increase in Hispanic immigrants, mainly from Mexico. The Asian population also increased during that period, drawing in immigrants from China, India, Vietnam, and more.


Top 10 Languages of Missouri (Other Than English)

Approximately 6.18 million people live in Missouri. While most of the residents do speak English, an estimated 6.2 percent of the state’s population aged four and up (around 383,033 people) speaks a non-English language at home. Additionally, approximately 2.28 percent of the population (an estimated 140,857 people) are classified as limited English proficiency (LEP).

Based on the figures above, it isn’t a surprise that many languages are spoken in Missouri. Here’s a quick look at the top ten languages of Missouri, not including English.

1. Spanish

As is the case in most US states, Spanish is the most common non-English language spoken in Missouri. In total, there are an estimated 149,698 Spanish speakers in Missouri. That works out to a population share of a tad more than 2.60 percent.

2. Chinese

Chinese (including Cantonese and Mandarin) is the second most widely used non-English language in Missouri, though the number of speakers is far less than Spanish. In total, there are about 23,747 Chinese speakers in Missouri, which calculates out to a population share of a little more than 0.41 percent.

3. German

Coming in behind Chinese on this list is German. The estimated 19,321 German speakers make up little less than 0.34 percent of the Missouri population.

4. Vietnamese

There are approximately 14,631 Vietnamese speakers in Missouri. As a result, Vietnamese speakers represent a bit more than 0.25 percent of the Missouri population.

5. Serbo-Croatian

Rounding out the top five most common non-English languages spoken in Missouri is Serbo-Croatian. With an estimated 13,979 speakers, they make up a little more than 0.24 percent of the population.

6. Arabic

In Missouri, there are around 13,133 Arabic speakers. That gives them a population share of nearly 0.23 percent.

7. French

Following Arabic on the list of the top ten languages of Missouri (not including English) is French (including Cajun). With 11,836 speakers, French speakers make up nearly 0.21 percent of the population.

8. Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch, or Other West Germanic Languages

Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch, and other West Germanic languages are spoken by about 9,670 Missouri residents. As a result, the speakers of those languages make up a bit less than 0.17 percent of the state’s population.

9. Tagalog

There are an estimated 8,518 Tagalog (including Filipino) speakers in Missouri, giving them a population share of around 0.15 percent.

10. Russian

The final language on the list of the top ten languages of Missouri, not including English, is Russian. The 6,983 speakers represent a little more than 0.12 percent of the population.


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