Telugu is the Fastest Growing Language in America


A recent study by the US-based Center for Immigration Studies has shown Telugu as the fastest growing language in United States which has grown by 86% in the last seven years.

Telugu Americans are citizens of the United States of America who belong to the Telugu ethnic group. The vast majority of Telugu Americans trace their ancestry to the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, but also from other neighbouring states including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Maharashtra, etc. Most of the Telugus that have migrated during 20th century were from the Krishna and Godavari delta regions of the Madras Presidency. During the 21st century , after the dot-com boom, Telugus from all regions of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana started migrating in high numbers.

In 2000, the Telugu population in the U.S. numbered around 87,543. By 2010, the number surged to 222,977 then 415,414 by 2017 and was 644,700 by 2020. The rise in Telugu population is attributed to the increasing representation of South Indian diaspora in technological field specially after Y2K.[3] Brookings Institution Report revealed that Telugu states sent over 26,000 students between 2008 and 2012, most pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM fields).

Telugu people now constitute one of the largest groups of Indian Americans.[4] The majority of Telugu Americans live in metropolitan areas with significant economic importance in STEM fields, industries in which many Telugus and other South Indian groups participate in. These areas include the San Francisco Bay Area, central New Jersey, Texas Triangle, Chicago, Seattle, the Delaware Valley and Northern Virginia and the Baltimore metropolitan area, with smaller but significant populations throughout the country in major metropolitan and micropolitan areas of almost every state.[5] Other metropolitan areas with growing numbers of Telugu Americans include those in Greater Boston, Kansas City, Metro Detroit, Greater Cleveland, and Minneapolis–Saint Paul. The vast majority of Telugu Americans are Hindu, with a considerable who are Christian, and even smaller numbers who practice Islam.

Telugu is mainly spoken in the south Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. They have a combined population of 84 million people. It's the fourth most spoken language in India, according to the 2011 census.

The study on languages spoken in the US used data from the American Community Survey and compared the number of people who said they spoke a language other than English at home in 2010 and 2017.

Last year there were more than 400,000 Telugu speakers in the US - nearly double the number in 2010. The rise of Telugu is significant as a percentage increase but it started from a low base compared to other languages.

There were more new speakers of Spanish (up to four million more), Chinese, Arabic and Hindi between 2010 and 2017, according to the Centre for Immigration Studies. Of the more than 60 million people that speak a language other than English out of the total population of about 320 million, the vast majority speak Spanish.

Telugu Diaspora in America 
Image: Telugu Diaspora in America

Out of the most commonly spoken South Asian languages, Hindi is first, followed by Urdu, Gujarati and then Telugu. The number of people who speak French and German at home has declined. The number of Italian speakers has decreased by more than 200,000 in the last decade. 

About 80% of the Telugu-speakers surveyed said they speak English very well. However, one shortcoming of the census data is that the respondents are asked how well they speak English and not about proficiency in other languages, says Jennifer Leeman, a professor of linguistics at George Mason University. "It's hard to know the non-English proficiency of those people who speak English well, especially if they were born in the US or immigrated as children."



Over 45K subscribers