From before the United States was a country, immigrants have come to these shores, seeking a better life and desperately wanting to fit in.
It’s no different for Latinos, who are among the United States’ newest and largest group of immigrants. A new study by the Pew Research Center — Hispanic Trends notes that fewer Latinos are speaking Spanish, and a growing share speaks only English at home.
The study also notes that 17.9 million U.S. Hispanics, or about a third, are under age 18. Also in 2014, 14.6 million Latinos, or about a quarter of the total in the U.S., were millennials age 18 to 33. All told, nearly six in 10 Hispanics are millennials or younger.
So as the rest of the country’s population continues to rise in age, Latinos make up a large segment of the nation’s youth. But like all immigrant groups, English as the dominant language of the U.S. also is the one that Latinos learn to speak most often.
It’s what immigrants want their children to learn to be successful.
In the last 14 years, English proficiency among U.S. Hispanics went up mostly because of young people.
“Overall, some 62 percent of Hispanics ages 5 to 17 and 72 percent of Hispanic millennials speak Spanish at home,” the report said. “By comparison, eight-in-ten or more Hispanic Gen Xers (80 percent), boomers (80 percent) and silent or greatest generation adults (83 percent) speak Spanish in their homes.
“As a result, the share of all Hispanics who speak Spanish at home has started to decline, and the use of English only in the home has increased.”
People and some presidential candidates who get uptight over immigrants and companies offering bilingual options in English and Spanish or having employees who are bilingual, need to relax. Immigrants are aware that to succeed in this country, they have to learn to communicate in English.
For their children to make it, being fluent in English is even more important.