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Immigration and Language Trends in the US

Published on June 03, 2020 by Regina Wetzel


Spanish is the most commonly spoken language after English in the United States and has been for many decades, but recently other languages are increasing in demand. 

During the last 50 years, the number of Asian immigrants in the United States have increased rapidly, from about 0.5 million in 1960 to 13.9 million in 2018, when the last American Community Survey was conducted. In 2018, those born in Asia represented over 30% of the total foreign-born population in the nation.

These 13.9 million immigrants represent a wide variety of cultural and linguistic diversity from Asia, which consists of 52 countries and 4.6 billion people. Out of the 7,000 languages spoken around the world, 2,300 of the world’s languages can be found in Asia alone.

The US Census reports that of the 13.9 million foreign-born from Asia:

  • 30% were from South Eastern Asia, including 2 million from the Philippines and 1.3 million from Vietnam
  • 30% from Eastern Asia, including 2.8 million from China and 1 million from Korea
  • 29% from South Central Asia, including 2.6 million from India
  • Almost 8% from Western Asia or the Middle East.

10 million citizens or residents in the United States or about 16% of all who reported to speak a language other than English at home speak an Asian or Pacific Islander language. And their level of proficiency varies by region of origin, for example, 46% of immigrants from South and East Asia report that they speak English less than very well.

Immigration Trends from Asia

Almost every year since 2010, Asian immigrants have surpassed Hispanic immigrants to the US. South and East Asians alone accounted for 27% of all immigrants in 2017, outpacing immigrants from Mexico (25%).  In 2017, of the top four countries of origin for new immigrants, two were Asian countries with 126,000 from India and 121,000 from China. This trend does not appear to be slowing down: The Pew Research Center projects Asians to be the largest immigrant group in the US by 2055, and making up 38% of all immigrants by 2065.

Why Remote Interpretation is a Great Option for Providing Many Languages

As the diversity of immigrants continues to grow, providers must find a way to communicate to patients who speak a larger variety of languages.

That’s why remote interpretation is such a great solution to this challenge. You don’t need to hire staff interpreters for dozens of languages or hope that local interpreter agencies have less common languages available. With CyraCom, you’ll be connected to a qualified interpreter who can take your calls immediately.