The State of Language in the United States


Over 60 million Americans speak a language other than English at home. Do you think that this is a positive development that can promote further diversity in the  US?
Yes, we at Wyzant ( believe diversity is an asset. On a global scale, more than 50% of people worldwide speak two or more languages fluently. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., only 20% of us are fluent in two languages. But, as languages grow in popularity, our workforce is becoming even more competitive in an increasingly global  environment.

According to the Department of Labor, the hottest job skill right now is fluency in a foreign language, as job listings calling for translators, interpreters and other individuals with multilingual skillsets have skyrocketed significantly in recent years. There is value in pursuing multilingual professionals and also in employing a significant number of people with this versatile  skill.

According to Wyzant, Portland and St. Louis comprise the two top markets where ESL is at their highest. Why is this  so?
We can’t draw any conclusions as to why it is so popular, but we’ve noticed that some of the markets where ESL has been most popular also have thriving immigrant populations. According to the latest U.S. Census Bureau numbers, the St. Louis area has seen the largest percentage increase in immigrants compared to other major metropolitan areas around the country. Between 2014 and 2015, Federal data showed the number of foreign-born people living in the metro had increased 8.9 percent, from 118,8936 to 129,559  people.

Hulsey, Paige. “St. Louis leads nation in growing immigrant population.” 22 Sep. 2016. Web. 22 Sep.  2016.

According to Wyzant, Boston, MA and Jacksonville, FL comprise the bottom two markets where ESL is at their lowest. Why is this  so?
Again, we can’t speculate as to why things are popular or not. But, since popularity is a relative metric, it is important for us to see what actually is popular in those markets to see what is outpacing the growth of ESL  lessons.

● Advanced math and sciences are really popular, especially organic chemistry and electrical engineering
● Computer and programming subjects are also incredibly popular in Boston. SPSS and Java are some of the more popular subjects

Jacksonville,  FL
● Three of the most popular subjects in Jacksonville are C++, nursing (assistance with NCLEX, classes for nursing degrees, etc.) and Arabic.

What cities do you see ESL increasing its popularity the most in the next five years?
We are only looking at historical trends. It is important to note, however, that while our results revealed that the overall popularity of ESL lessons had dipped, ESL amongst adults is actually growing in popularity across the  board.

Interestingly, we found that the percentage of adults taking ESL lessons through Wyzant is higher in the Midwest than in other regions—and has even grown by more than 20 percent in the past  year.

Is there a correlation between immigration & immigration reform and (English as a Second Language) ESL  popularity?
What we have seen is ESL lessons are popular in cities where immigrant populations are growing, such as St. Louis and the Minneapolis  area.

And while the popularity of ESL lessons has been declining overall in the past 12 months, it’s still the most popular language subject among adult students by far. It’s over 50 percent more popular than 2nd place Spanish, and approximately 3 times more popular than any other  language.

What tools and options do people have today to learn a second language that they didn’t have ten years ago?
Online and immediate assistance. One of the reasons Wyzant has invested so much in developing our online tutoring tool is to make 1-to-1 learning that much more accessible to people looking for help. You can take these lessons from the comfort of your home, office or school — whatever best fits into your  schedule.

And, since online lessons don’t require the instructor and student to be in the same location, students now have access to thousands of tutors around the country at a variety of price  points.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.