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Study Finds a Decrease in Latinos who Speak Spanish at Home

November 30, 2017

By Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

While there is a focus to encourage younger generations to speak more than one language because of greater opportunities, one study found that the percent of Latinos speaking Spanish at home is decreasing.

The study found that although the number of Latinos speaking Spanish was greater in 2015 than 2006, the total percentage of those Latinos who speak Spanish has decreased.

Spanish is the country’s most common non-English language, however, there was a decrease of 5 percent of Latinos who speak it in major metropolitan areas, according to a study by the Pew Research Center published on Oct. 31.

“While the number of Latinos who speak Spanish at home continues to increase due to the overall growth of the Latino population, the share of latinos who speak the language has declined over the past decade or so,” the study reads.

According to the center’s analysis of Census Bureau data, the share of Latinos who speak the language has declined over the past decade with 73 percent of Latinos speaking Spanish at home in 2015, from 78 percent in 2006 in the United States.

Overall, the “Spanish-speaking population” in 2015 was at 37,356,761 compared to 30,835,183 in 2006.

In San Diego, there was a 4 percent decrease in the share of Latinos who speak Spanish at home, according to the study.

The Spanish-speaking population in 2006 in the San Diego-Carlsbad area was 612,812 and in 2015 the population count was 742,116.

Areas with the greatest decrease were Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Arizona, and San Antonio-New Braunfels, Texas with a 9 percent decrease.

Metropolitan areas with a larger population of immigrants saw a smaller decrease in the percent of Latinos who speak Spanish. According to the studying it is in part because immigrants are more likely to speak Spanish.

San Diego’s proximity to the border and immigrant population kept the area in the lower side of the scale when compared to areas that had a decrease in Latinos who speak Spanish at home.

“Despite the drop-off in use, most Latinos agree that speaking Spanish is a vital skill,” the study reads. “In a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, nearly all Latinos said it was important that the next generation of latinos in the U.S. speak Spanish.”

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