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Most Common North American Languages
(by number of speakers today)

This chart lists the thirty Native North American languages with the most native speakers. Note that this is only a chart of Native American/First Nations languages, not ALL languages spoken in these two countries. Among all languages, the top three languages spoken in the US and Canada are English (with 237 million speakers,) Spanish (with 114 million speakers,) and French (with 8 million speakers.) Other non-indigenous languages spoken by more than a million people in North America include the Chinese languages, German, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Italian, Korean, Arabic, Russian, and Polish.

Also, be aware that in some of these cases, a "language" may actually include several related, but not identical, languages. For example, Inuit people in Alaska and Quebec really can not understand each other (although both of them may easily understand an intermediate form of their language.) There are also dozens of different Mayan languages, which could be listed separately (we do list them separately on our website.) However, since the people themselves often self-report themselves as speaking only "Inuktitut" or "Mayan," it becomes very difficult to compare the total estimated number of speakers at a finer level than this (especially comparing between countries, since most Central American censuses do not differentiate between Mayan speakers.) A good source for demographic information about individual languages, sublanguages and dialects is the Ethnologue of Languages.

Most Popular North American Languages

Language name Country/region spoken Approximate number of speakers
1. Nahuatl Mexico 2 million
2. Mayan languages Mexico 1.5 million
3. Zapotec Mexico 400,000
4. Mixtec Mexico 400,000
5. Mazahua Mexico 350,000
6. Totonac Mexico 250,000
7. Otomi Mexico 250,000
8. Mazatec Mexico 175,000
9. Navajo Southwestern US 150,000
10. Tlapanec Mexico 120,000
11. Purepecha Mexico 100,000
12. Mixe Mexico 90,000
13. Chinantec Mexico 80,000
14. Cree Canada 70,000
15. Inuktitut Arctic region 65,000
16. Tarahumara Mexico 60,000
17. Ojibwe Canada and the northern US 50,000
18. Zoque Mexico 42,000
19. Chatino Mexico 35,000
20. Tojolabal Mexico 32,000
21. Mayo Mexico 30,000
22. Triqui Mexico 30,000
23. Sioux (Dakota and Lakota) Great Plains states 26,000
24. Amuzgo Mexico 25,000
25. Popoluca Mexico 25,000
26. Tepehuan Mexico 24,000
27. Cherokee Oklahoma and the US Southeast 22,000
28. Huichol Mexico 20,000
29. Popoloca Mexico 20,000
30. Yup'ik Alaska 17,000

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