More than 1 out of 4 Floridians speak a language other than English in their homes with Spanish being the most common, according to new Census Bureau figures released Tuesday.
More than 27 percent of Floridians spoke a language other than English in 2011, up 2 percentage points from five years earlier. The overwhelming majority of those spoke Spanish or Spanish Creole, according to the Census. That amounted to about 3.6 million Spanish-speaking denizens out of Florida's 17.9 million residents over the age of 5.
Florida's overall population is 19.3 million people.
The next common non-English language spoken at home was French or French Creole. Almost a half-million Floridians speak French Creole, the language spoken in Haiti and other former French colonies.
Other non-English languages spoken in large numbers in Florida were Portuguese, with 86,000 speakers; German, with 70,000 speakers; Vietnamese with 60,000 speakers; and Chinese with 58,000 speakers. Florida has concentrations of Brazilians in South Florida, Germans along the Gulf Coast and Vietnamese in Orlando.
Of the Floridians who spoke a language other than English in their homes, around 57 percent spoke English "very well," on par with the national average. Only about 55 percent of Spanish, French and French Creole and Portuguese speakers spoke English "very well." About 80 percent of German speakers, and only 43 percent of Vietnamese speakers in Florida, understood English "very well."
At the metropolitan level, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region had the 10th highest rate of residents who speak a non-English language — 51 percent of residents. The language spoken at home was Spanish in more than three-quarters of those cases.
Other Florida metro areas where more than a quarter of residents spoke a language other than English were Orlando and the Naples area, which includes a large number of farming communities with large populations of Hispanic farmworkers. In those metro areas, Spanish was the dominant non-English tongue spoken.