CHICAGO — Nearly three in 10 people living in the Chicago area speak a language other than English at home, a new report finds.
The U.S. Census study released Tuesday says of the 2.5 million Chicago area residents who speak a language other than English at home, about 60 percent speak Spanish.
A quarter of those in the Chicago area speak another Indo-European language, such as Polish, German or Hindi. Some 11.2 percent speak an Asian or Pacific Island language.
Chicago, with 29.1 percent saying they speak a language other than English in the home, has higher than national averages.
The numbers, from 2011, show about one in five residents in the United States — 20.8 percent — speak a language other than English at home.
Metro areas such as Chicago "generally have large proportions of people who speak a language other than English at home because of the economic opportunities in those places or because they act as gateway points of entry into the country," the researchers said.
The numbers are growing: a decade ago, in 2000, some 17.9 percent of people living in the United States spoke a language other than English in the home.
However, the Census researchers found that while more people are speaking a language other than English in the home, the percentage of people who speak English "less than very well" — 8.7 percent in 2011 — has remained steady over the first decade of the 21st Century.
"At the same time that more people are speaking languages other than English at home, the percentage of people speaking English proficiently has remained steady," Census statistician Camille Ryan said in a release.
The Census has also developed a map showing language use across the country that can be seen here.