Somali Populations in the US

Columbus, Ohio is home to more than 75,000 Somali residents. Why such a high concentration? Somalis first began settling in Virginia, but due to the high cost of living and issues with finding work, they began to look elsewhere. Columbus, Ohio had a low cost of living and lots of factory jobs, so the Somalis began moving to Ohio. Somalis are known for tight-knit families and word eventually spread. The Somali population started coming to Ohio in the mid-90s and one of the largest challenges they still face today is the language barrier.

Affordable Language Services is a leading provider of Somali translations and Somali interpretation. While Somali is certainly not an uncommon language in Columbus, Ohio, it’s uncommon to find a qualified and trained Somali speaker.

One of the most common Somali-related services we provide are to schools in the Columbus-area providing Somali translation of school forms and documents. According to the Columbus City Schools website, nearly every school in Columbus has an ESL class just for its Somali students.


Even though Ohio has such a large Somali population, it’s not the largest by any means. Minnesota has the most Somalis nationwide.

Here are some Somali customs:

+ Somali greet each other with handshakes, but never with the opposite sex.

+ It’s rude to point the sole of your foot or shoe at someone else.

+ The American ‘thumbs up’ is considered obscene.

+ Lunch is often the biggest meal of the day.

+ Weddings are traditionally spread over a three-day period.

Were you aware of the huge Somali population in Ohio? Have any questions about the Somali language? Please share your thoughts!

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