The World's Most Linguistically Diverse City

A newsstand in New York showing a variety of languages. Editorial credit: Thinglass /
A newsstand in New York showing a variety of languages. Editorial credit: Thinglass /

Language is a system of words and sounds that human societies use to communication with one another. The language that an individual speaks is heavily influenced by the language their parents use to communicate. Aside from their parents' language, children pick up the language that is most commonly spoken by the society around them. Individuals may also elect to learn a foreign language primarily to give them a competitive edge while looking for employment. Most cities in the world are cosmopolitan having individuals who speak multiple languages. Papua New Guinea, with roughly 820 languages spoken within its borders, is the world's most linguistically diverse country. The residents of New York City speak more languages than those of any other city in the world at approximately 800 languages. Queens, one of New York's boroughs, has more languages spoken within it than any other neighbourhood in the world.


English is the language with the highest number of speakers in the city. Despite the widespread use of English all over the city, 23% of city residents find the language difficult to use in communication. Slightly over 51% of New York's residents exclusively use English as the language of communication while at home. New York is the headquarters of a variety of international organizations with members from different nations. English is one of the primary languages used to communicate among members of these organizations. Various educational institutions were established in New York to teach English to those who could not speak the language. Immigrants into the city make up the most substantial number of people who attend these educational institutions.


The second most significant language in New York is Spanish with approximately 18.2% of the city's residents being able to speak the language. Spanish speakers in New York consist of both native speakers and those who learned it in school. Native Spanish speakers in New York are from a variety of nations with the most significant population from Puerto Rico. New York's community of Puerto Ricans is the most significant population outside of the country. Natives of the Dominican Republic also form a considerable number of the Spanish speakers in New York. People who trace their descent to Mexico form 13% of New York's Spanish speaking population.


Outside of Asia, New York's Chinese population is the most significant in the world. Several Chinese dialects such as Mandarin, Fuzhou, and Cantonese have large numbers of speakers in the city with Mandarin having the most significant representation. The number of Chinese speakers in New York is gradually increasing due to the influx of movement from China. The most significant number of Chinese residents in New York live in the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens with each having a Chinese population of more than 200,000 individuals.

Immigration and Language

Immigration is one of the major contributors to the spread of language all around the world. The development of various transport and communication technologies makes it easier for people to share ideas and information on a wide range of topics including language.


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