Miami Is Only U.S. City Where Most Language Learners Are Studying English

In the Magic City, Spanish is so prevalent that even Donald Trump, who once chided Jeb Bush for being bilingual, attempted to speak three words of it while campaigning here last year. Nearly 77 percent of Miamians speak a language other than English at home, with Spanish being the most common, according to U.S. Census figures. Forty-three percent of people said they spoke English "less than well."

So perhaps it's no surprise that Miami is the only major U.S. city where English is the most common language being learned on the popular free app Duolingo. A recent analysis by the Pittsburgh-based company, which is now the world's largest language-learning platform, found that nearly 45 percent of the app's users in Miami are Spanish speakers learning English.

After that, 24 percent of users are learning Spanish, 10 percent are learning Frenc,h and 5 percent are learning Italian.

At the state level, Florida has the highest proportion of users learning English from Spanish, about 25 percent.

But Miami stands out in both the Sunshine State and the nation based on its proportion of Spanish speakers learning English. After Miami, the city with the next highest percentage of Spanish speakers learning English is Houston, with 30.7 percent of users, followed by Houston, with 30.6 percent, and Dallas, with 27 percent.

The folks at Duolingo say it's a sign of Miami's big, happy melting pot.

"We think this is indicative of immigration patterns and the large number of native speakers living in Miami," company spokesperson Michaela Kron says.

But Kron says the data also shows a big chunk of the English speakers in Miami are endeavoring to learn better Spanish.

"Interestingly, our data show that not only are Spanish speakers in Miami assimilating by learning English, but also that many English speakers in Miami are learning Spanish in order to better communicate with native speakers in their city," she says.
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Brittany Shammas is a former staff writer at Miami New Times. She covered education in Naples before taking a job at the South Florida Sun Sentinel. She joined New Times in 2016.
Contact: Brittany Shammas

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