This is the first time that the USA is counting speakers of Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi and Bengali individually.

With 32 lakh speakers Telugu is the third-most spoken Indian language in the USYouTube screengrab
news Language Friday, December 15, 2017 - 17:24

Telugu speakers have a cause to cheer, as it now has the distinction of being the third-most spoken Indian language in the USA.

While this might not seem like a major distinction at first glance, the fact that Telugu speakers account for 3.2 lakh people in the latest US census certainly is.

According to the US Census Bureauā€™s 2012-2016 American Community Survey five-year estimates data release, 3,21,695 people over the age of five speak Telugu at home. Tamil also figures on this list, with 2,38,699 people speaking Tamil at home.

This is the first time that the number of Telugu speakers has been counted. Before this, speakers of Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, and Bengali were only clubbed under categories such as ā€˜Other Indic languagesā€™ and ā€˜Other Asian languagesā€™.

While Telugu and Tamil have both shown sizeable numbers in the current census, Hindi is the only language to figure in the top 10 languages of the US, with 7.4 lakh speakers.

According to the Census Bureau, Tamil speakers were more evenly distributed across many parts of the nation.

Tamil Speakers

Source: US Census Bureau

ā€œFor both languages, the highest concentration of speakers lived in California, followed by Texas and New Jersey (the number of persons who spoke Tamil in Texas and New Jersey are not statistically different),ā€ a release said.

Telugu-speaking families live in states such as Illinois, New York, Washington, Oregon, California, and Pennsylvania, among others.

Telugu Speakers

Source: US Census Bureau

Of course, these numbers arenā€™t surprising, considering the sizeable representation of south Indian diaspora in the tech and engineering spaces. The Telugu states and Tamil Nadu have also contributed notable tech leaders in the recent past. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen, for instance, are both from Hyderabad. Padmasree Warrior, CEO at Chinese car major NIO and formerly at Motorola and Cisco, hails from Vijayawada. On the other hand, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is from Chennai.

Also read: Making Telugu compulsory: Mother tongues, the last stronghold against Hindi imposition

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