NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

In The U.S., A Trend Back to English

April 8, 2002

As Hispanic immigration has speeded up in recent decades, it appeared that Spanish was giving English a run for its money. But recent developments suggest that the English language can more than hold its own.

  • The growth of Spanish-language radio has leveled off in the last few years, media experts report.
  • In fact, a growing number of mainstream English-language radio stations find themselves with sizable Latino audiences.
  • As in past waves of immigration, the first generation tends to learn only enough English to get by; the second is bilingual; and the third generation tends to be English-dominant, if not monolingual.
  • The fastest growing segment of the Latino population in the U.S. is the third generation -- which is projected to triple by 2040, with the population of second-generation immigrants expected to double.

A recent study of the children of immigrants found that by the end of high school, nine in 10 preferred to speak English -- and 98 percent spoke it proficiently.

By mid-century, half the planet is expected to be more or less proficient in English -- compared to roughly 12 percent now.

Source: Gregory Rodriguez, "The Overwhelming Allure of English," New York Times, April 7, 2002.


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