DETROIT (WWJ) – Besides Spanish, what would you guess is the most commonly spoken foreign language in Michigan? If you said French, German or Mandarin Chinese then you’re wrong — it’s Arabic.
According to the company 24/7 Wall St, more than 132,000 Michigan residents speak Arabic at home.
“Since you had such a large immigration, some of that is in Detroit and some of that is in the northern suburbs,” Editor-In-Chief Douglas McIntyre told WWJ. “My father lives in Orchard Lake, there are lot of Arabic speaking people there. I think that the concentration of this is probably within 50 miles of downtown Detroit.”
The survey excluded Spanish, which is the most common spoken language in nearly every state after English. Michigan is only one of four states where Arabic is the most spoken foreign language. According to the report, about 1.3 percent of residents in Michigan speak Arabic.
German was the most popular foreign language in 24/7 Wall St’s report, with Vietnamese and Chinese following.
The study was conducted through reviewing data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 American Consumer Survey on languages spoken most often at home. Ancestry data was also factored into the report.
McIntyre said the high volume of Arabic speaking Michiganders comes from a long line of Arabic speaking families throughout the years.
“In some cases you can come into the United States, you may have came 100 years ago and the second or third year generation of people may still be speaking their native language, if not all the time but some of the time,” McIntyre said. “So this is not necessarily people who came to the United States in the last five to 10 years.”
Click here to read the entire report from 24/7 Wall St.