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More Than 1,750,000 American Jews Were Reared Speaking Yiddish, Census Shows

Yiddish is the mother tongue of at least 1,751,100 American Jews, according to the results of a study of the 1940 census of people in the United States who were reared speaking foreign languages, it was revealed here today by the Census Bureau.

The Yiddish language as a mother tongue ranks fifth in the census, being preceded by German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. In 1920, 2,043,613 Jewish-Americans spoke Yiddish. Of the 1,751,100 who gave Yiddish as their mother tongue in the 1940 census, 924,440 were born abroad.

“Nearly 53 percent of the second-generation whites reported English the mother tongue in 1940, as compared with only about 30 percent in 1920 and 35 percent in 1910,” a statement by the Census Bureau said. “Since the proportion of immigrants from English-speaking countries has been declining for many decades, it would appear that immigrants of a foreign mother tongue are less inclined than formerly to use it in their homes and thus teach it to their children.”