U.S. Born Are Driving Language Changes
May 12, 2015
Via Press Release
A record 33.2 million Hispanics in the U.S. speak English proficiently, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In 2013, this group made up 68% of all Hispanics ages 5 and older, up from 59% in 2000.
At the same time that the share of Latinos who speak English proficiently is growing, the share that speaks Spanish at home has been declining over the last 13 years. In 2013, 73% of Latinos ages 5 and older said they speak Spanish at home, down from 78% who said the same in 2000. Despite this decline, a record 35.8 million Hispanics speak Spanish at home, a number that has continued to increase as the nation’s Hispanic population has grown.
These shifts coincide with the rise of U.S.-born Hispanics as a share of the nation’s Hispanic population and the slowdown in immigration to the U.S. from Latin America.
Fully 89% of U.S.-born Latinos spoke English proficiently in 2013, up from 72% in 1980. This gain is due in part to the growing share of U.S.-born Latinos who live in households where only English is spoken. In 2013, 40% of U.S.-born Latinos, or 12 million people, lived in these households, up from 32% who did so in 1980. The gain in English proficiency is also due to the rising share of U.S.-born Latinos who live in households where Spanish (or another non-English language) is spoken, and who say they speak English “very well.” Half (49%) of U.S.-born Latinos say this, numbering 14.7 million, up from 40% who said the same in 1980.
By contrast, the share of foreign-born Latinos who speak English proficiently is little changed since 1980, even though the number that is English-proficient has grown. In 2013, 34% of foreign-born Latinos spoke English proficiently, numbering 6.5 million. In 1980, that share was 31% and numbered 1.3 million.
Source: Pew Research Center