Survey Reveals Main Languages Spoken in England and Wales

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30th January 2013 17:35 - Public Consultation

A survey of 56.1million people living in England and Wales by the Office of National Statistics has uncovered for the first time what languages are most prevalent in the UK.

The researchers recorded over 100 different languages and 49 main languages (classified as more than 15,000 people who speak them).

English is obviously the primary language spoken, while Swedish is the least. Thereafter, the survey discovered 562,000 Welsh speakers in Wales, and surprisingly, the second main foreign language spoken in England and Wales is now Polish at a figure of 546,000.

The next biggest main languages were found to be the South Asian languages of Punjabi, Urdu, Bengali and Gujarati, followed by Arabic, French, Chinese and Portuguese respectively.

In the nation’s capital, all but three of London’s boroughs (excluding the City, Richmond and Havering) have residents who speak more than 100 main languages, with Hillingdon being the most linguistically diverse (107 languages listed), followed by Newham (103 languages).

The survey also revealed that Ealing is the nation's hotspot for Polish speakers, Slough for Punjabi and Urdu, Leicester for Gujarati, Kensington for French and Manchester for Cantonese and Mandarin.

Furthermore, one million households do not have any residents who speak English as a main language, although most had some proficiency in English - only 138,000 people could not speak English at all.

The West Midlands has the lowest percentage of people that can speak English very well or as well at 72%, and it is also the region which has the highest number of people who cannot speak any English.

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