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Common Neighborhoods For A Foreign Language

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Spanish is by far the most common foreign language in Chicago, but which neighborhoods have the most foreign-language speakers?

Polish and Chinese are the next most-common languages--followed by Tagalog (Philippines) and Arabic.

According to U.S. Census data, South Lawndale has the highest number of Spanish-speaking residents at 29,672.

The numbers are based on residents aged 5 years or older in Chicago who "speak English less than very well." Data is from 2011, the most recent available.

Broken down has a proportion of a neighborhood's population, Gage Park comes in first at 45 percent, just ahead of South Lawndale. However, in terms of raw numbers Gage Park ranks No. 4 with 15,746.

The top five in terms of percentage:

Gage Park: 45 percent (15,746)
South Lawndale: 44.7 percent (29,672)
Brighton Park: 40.2 percent (16,124)
Lower West Side: 39.5 percent (13,440)
Hermosa: 36.9 percent (8,327)

It should also be noted that Belmont-Cragin has the second-highest number of Spanish-speaking people with 24,851 and ranks No. 6 in terms of percentage (34.2)

In total, nearly 12 percent of Chicagoans speak Spanish, about 288,000 people.

Chicago was known to have the most Polish people outside of Warsaw. It remains the second-most common language spoken in the city.

A total of 33,571 people say they speak the language in their homes.

The most popular neighborhood for Polish is Dunning with 15 percent of residents who say the speak the language. That's followed by O'Hare with 12 percent.

Chinese is the third-most common language in Chicago with 22,674 resident speakers.

A majority of those live in either Armor Square or Bridgeport.

In Armor Square, 46.6 percent of the neighborhood speaks Chinese.

In Bridgeport, which is near Chinatown, it's 21 percent. The U.S. Census does not consider Chinatown a neighborhood.

The two neighborhoods with the smallest percentage of foreign language speakers are Washington Park (0.2 percent) and Englewood (0.3 percent)

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