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.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.