English Main Language for Hispanic Americans

Jul 23, 2013 7:00am

A new study  by the Pew Hispanic Center reveals that more Latinos are learning and using English as their primary language, as the number of Latinos in the United States who consume their news in English continues to grow.

In 2012, 82 percent of Hispanic adults consumed news in English, up from 78 percent in 2006. Meanwhile the number who consumed news in Spanish declined from 78 percent to 68 percent in those same years. Also on the decline are the number who receive their news in both languages–50 percent in 2012, from 57 percent in 2010.

The findings come at a time of ever-changing demographics in the U.S. with Latinos making up 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, according to the 2012 census.

“As the nation’s Latino population changes, what language Latinos use in their daily lives, including getting the news, might change,” Mark Lopez, associate director for the Pew Hispanic Center, told ABC News. ”Use of English rises through the generations. And as the share of foreign-born among Latinos falls, English will likely be used more by Hispanics.”

The change can be attributed, Lopez said, to a growing number of English-speaking adults, falling numbers for immigration to the United States, and more Latinos born in this country, as well as U.S.-born and second generation youth coming of age.

“We have tracked these measures only for a short time, so while we see some notable changes, it’s important to note that many of these changes have been likely going on for a while,” Lopez said.  ”And while young people coming of age is a part of the story, this results are not solely driven by the DREAMers.”

A June study by Pew found that each year approximately 800,000 young U.S.-born Latinos, or 24 percent of the U.S. under-18 population, come of age.

When it comes to sources of news, 96 percent of all Latino adults use one of four mediums for their news: television, print newspaper, radio or the Internet.

Television is the most popular (86 percent), radio and Internet tied for second both with 56 percent and newspaper last with 42 percent. On average, however, Latinos use two or three news media platforms to get their news on a typical weekday. Interestingly, half of Latinos who received their news from newspapers do so only in English, whereas 61 percent of Latinos who get news from the Internet do so only in English.

Spanish-language media are seen as doing a better job covering news relevant to Hispanics, but only slimly–46 percent of Spanish-language stations do a “good job,” compared with 42 percent of English language news media. Lopez said this could be attributed to the “big news stories done on the Latino vote in 2012,” when the Pew survey was conducted.

“Not only was that covered by Latinos, but it was also covered in the general news media,” he said. The survey examined more than 1,700 Latinos, including U.S. citizens, legal residents and undocumented, about their preferences when it came to what sources they use for news, accuracy and how closely followed the news.

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