Saturday, April 20, 2024

Study Shows That Spanish-Speaking Latinos Are Declining

A protester holds her sign up as immigrants and community leaders rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court to mark the one-year anniversary of President Barack Obama's executive orders on immigration in Washington, November 20, 2015. The Obama administration on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to revive President Barack Obama's executive action to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, saying Republican-led states had no legal basis to challenge it. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

In a study released yesterday by the Pew Research Center shows that Spanish-speaking Latinos in the U.S. are declining as a growing share only speak English at home. Fueled in great part by the Latino youth born in this country, English proficiency has risen amongst Latinos in the last fourteen years.

For the last decade, the number of newly arrived immigrants from Latin America has been declining.  The rise in English-speaking by young Latinos is in large part because of shifting demographics, said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the center. “We often tend to think of immigrants being the main driver of the Hispanic population, but it’s actually U.S.-born Hispanics who are drivers of the Hispanic population,” he said.

Almost half of these U.S.-born Latinos are under the age of 18 and 88% use English as their primary language at home or speak English very well, according to the research. In 2000 it was only 73%. As for millennial Latinos, ranging in ages 18 to 33, the numbers rose from 59% to 76%.

U.S. Jody Agius Vallejo, an associate professor of sociology at USC who studies immigrant integration, said the data bear out a long-standing phenomenon, the shift in language usage comes as no surprise. “The typical trend is that the first [generation] prefers to speak Spanish, the second generation is bilingual, and the third generation is generally monolingual,” she said.

The data counters the commonly used narrative that says Latinos don’t want to speak English or assimilate, she said. “It is simply not true,” Vallejo said. “What most people don’t understand is that many Spanish speakers in the U.S. are also bilingual. So when you hear someone speaking Spanish that doesn’t mean that they don’t speak English.”

LA Times