NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Number of English-Only Speaking Hispanics is Growing

September 11, 2003

The proportion of Texas Hispanics age 5 and over who speak only English has grown, from about 16 of every 100 Hispanics in 1990 to nearly 19 of every 100 in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

It's a jump of nearly 79 percent, from 616,758 in 1990 to more than 1.1 million in 2000.

Other data for Texas Hispanics over age 5, compiled by the Texas State Data Center at Texas A&M University and the Census Bureau show:

  • The Hispanic population was 5.9 million in 2000 -- a nearly 56 percent jump from 3.8 million in 1990.
  • Nearly 30 percent of Hispanics between 5 and 17 spoke only English in 2000; by comparison, less than 10 percent of Hispanics over 65 spoke only English.
  • The number of Hispanics who speak Spanish jumped about 50 percent between 1990 and 2000 -- from about 3.2 million to 4.8 million.
  • The number of Hispanics who do not speak English at all doubled to nearly 500,000 between 1990 and 2000.

The proportion of English-only Hispanics in Texas has risen despite an influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants. And it has grown even as some second- and third-generation Latinos are reacculturating, or deciding to rediscover their roots and language, says Manuel Garcia y Griego, director of Mexican-American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The reacculturation group is not growing fast enough to compensate for the loss of Spanish, Garcia says. Without reacculturation, the English-only segment would probably be growing faster.

Source: Hector Cantu, "Language shift speaks volumes," Dallas Morning News, September 1, 2003.


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