Spanish language in the usa: The U.S. Has The Second-Largest Population Of Spanish Speakers—How To Equip Your Brand To Serve Them
Its Presence, Power and Influence
If you weren’t paying attention, in certain parts of the United States, a combination of Spanish place names and a myriad of Spanish speakers around you could trick you into believing that you had accidentally woken up in a different country. However, if you consider the exponential growth of Spanish in the USA, everything makes more sense.
With its 50 million Spanish speakers, the United States has the second largest Spanish-speaking population in the whole world. Hispanics represented over 15% of the country’s population. Because of the number of native and second language speakers, nearly 1 in 5 people in the USA can speak Spanish, a direct consequence of both Hispanic immigration and population growth. This enormous group of Spanish speakers have consolidated themselves and their language, which has given rise to a specific variety of Spanish, known as US Spanish, into which content can be localized.
The Spanish-Speaking Market in the United States
The US Spanish-speaking market is a considerable one, larger than the economies of most countries around the world. Therefore, Spanish is not really a courtesy as much as it is a requirement, especially in cities such as Miami, where 90% of Latinos speak Spanish at home, or Los Angeles, where 79% of people speak this language. Moreover, 56% of those for whom Spanish is their mother tongue have stated that advertising in Spanish makes them feel respected and acknowledged, which can often translate into brand loyalty.
A History of Spanish in the United States
Spanish has been a part of these lands since the 15th century, when Spain colonized North America, with settlements in areas which are now Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.
In fact, Spanish language rights were included in California’s first constitution, and the current constitution is available in both English and Spanish. This can be explained by the fact that every single law, decree, regulation and provision from the legislature, executive, and judicial branches in California needs to be published both in English and Spanish.
It is Miami what is considered the “capital of Latin America”, though. This city has a long history as a tourist destination, but its bilingual immigrants have been turning Miami into a trade, travel and communications hub. Some 40 years ago, Miami was the point of entry for nearly 300,000 refugees and immigrants coming from Latin America and the Caribbean, but today, it boasts a variety of bilingual corporations, banks and media outlets.
Spanish population in the USReference: American Community Survey, Census Bureau (2017)
Learning Spanish as a Second Language
Because of the clear importance of Spanish within the United States, the rise in the number of students of Spanish as a second language is not a surprise. Nowadays, around 50% of US college students and 70% of students within the first 12 years of scholarization choose to learn Spanish.
Knowing some Spanish can affect your professional choices and it is essential for any hospitality-related work, a big source of jobs for students while they are studying. However, Spanish can also help you communicate with a wider part of your community, especially in those areas of the country where a significant percentage of the population considers Spanish their mother tongue.
Spanglish around the United States
Spanish is so much a part of the USA that its contact with the English language has seen the rise of a contact dialect known as Spanglish. Because 59% of Hispanics who can speak English are bilingual, many people living in the United States combine the two languages daily. A total of 57% of second generation, young Latinos speak Spanglish sometimes, while 26% speak Spanglish most of the time.
Many Spanglish speakers consider that the dialect is an accurate representation of their American and Hispanic heritage and see it as something bringing bilingual Americans together. However, Spanglish is not at all homogeneous. What is considered Spanglish by the Mexican-American communities in Los Angeles is different from the dialect spoken by Puerto Ricans in New York City or Cuban-Americans in Miami.
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What is the future of Spanish in the United States?
With more than 37 million speakers, Spanish is by far the most spoken non-English language in the U.S. today among people ages 5 and older. It is also one of the fastest-growing, with the number of speakers up 233% since 1980, when there were 11 million Spanish speakers. (The number of Vietnamese speakers grew faster, up 599% over the same period).
As Spanish use has grown, driven primarily by Hispanic immigration and population growth, it has become a part of many aspects of life in the U.S. For example, Spanish is spoken by more non-Hispanics in U.S. homes than any other non-English language and Spanish language television networks frequently beat their English counterparts in television ratings.
But what’s the future of Spanish?
According to a 2011 paper by U.S. Census Bureau Demographers Jennifer Ortman and Hyon B. Shin, the number of Spanish speakers is projected to rise through 2020 to anywhere between 39 million and 43 million, depending on the assumption one makes about immigration. Most of these Spanish speakers will be Hispanic, with Ortman and Shin projecting between 37.5 million and 41 million Hispanic Spanish speakers by 2020.
Ortman and Shin provide two other projections, both of which highlight the changing demographics of the nation’s Hispanic population and the rising importance of U.S. births rather than the arrival of new immigrants to Hispanic population growth.
Today, three-fourths of all Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish. However, that share is projected to fall to about two-thirds in 2020. The share of Hispanics that speak Spanish reached 78% in the 2000s.
As the share of Hispanics who speak Spanish falls, the share that speaks only English at home is expected to rise. About a third (34%) of Hispanics will speak only English at home by 2020, up from 25% in 2010, according to Ortman and Shin.
The story of the Spanish language in the U.S. is still unfolding. Whether it follows the same pattern of decline in use as other non-English languages, such as Italian, German or Polish, remains to be seen. (The number of Italian, German and Polish speakers in the U.S. declined 55.2%, 32.7% and 25.9% between 1980 and 2010, even though the number of Americans who trace their ancestry to Germany, Poland or Italy grew over the same period.)
Nonetheless, the path that Spanish takes could be different. A 2012 Pew Research Hispanic Trends Project report showed 95% of Hispanic adults—including those born in the U.S.—said it is important that future generations of Hispanic speak Spanish. And today’s young Hispanics are more likely than their parents to say they hear messages about the importance of speaking Spanish. But among Hispanics, use of English when consuming news media, television entertainment, music or speaking it is on the rise.
Mark Hugo Lopez is director of race and ethnicity research at Pew Research Center.
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Ana Gonzalez-Barrera is a senior researcher focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.
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Why Spanish is not a «foreign» language in the US
Let’s see. Spanish is not a «foreign» language for the US, absolutely. The names of many states and cities have Spanish roots — this indicates that Spanish speakers colonized a large number of territories that later became part of the United States before the English-speaking colonialists arrived. Many Americans use Spanish words when speaking English, often without even realizing it. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center report, Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and many of the country’s immigrants and Native Americans were raised in Spanish.
When you think about it, Spanish is just as «foreign» to the US as English is. Still have doubts? Let us explain this in more detail. Below are nine reasons why Spanish is not a foreign language in the US.
1. A large number of Americans speak Spanish
As of 2012, about 38. 3 million people in the United States used Spanish at home, according to the US Census. This represents 13% of the US population aged 5 years and older.
2. A number of US states, cities and streets have Spanish names
Nevada, Colorado, Los Angeles, Florida, Montana, San Antonio, California and Sacramento are all Spanish words or names. This list goes on and on.
3. Spanish was used in what is now the United States long before English was spoken
Spanish colonizers first set foot in what would become part of the United States in the 16th century, establishing a permanent colony at St. Augustine ( San Agustin, Florida, in 1565 — long before the English-speaking colonizers founded Jamestown. On the other hand, all European languages are more foreign to North America than Karuk, Cherokee, Natchez, or dozens of other indigenous languages on the continent.
4. More Spanish speakers in the US than in Spain
In 2013, the US was the fifth largest Hispanic population in the world. In 2015, the US moved into second place after Mexico.
5. Spanish is the most widely spoken language on the island of Puerto Rico
The territory of Puerto Rico is under US control and the inhabitants of the island have US citizenship.
6. There is no official state language in the USA
English is not an official US language. Although several states have legislated English as an official language, this has not been established at the federal level.
7. Even English-speaking Americans use Spanish words on a regular basis.
The words cafeteria, vanilla, and even ranch have Spanish roots.
8. Spanish-language TV network breaks ratings records
The Spanish-language TV network Univision consistently outperforms English-language broadcasters, especially at the local level. In May 2016, Univision TV channels in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Sacramento were ranked as the most watched news channels in the morning and evening by adults aged 18 to 49, regardless of language.
9. Spanish becomes the second most important language in politics
Even candidates vying for political office recognize the fact that a large number of the country’s inhabitants speak Spanish. Many of them run Spanish-language ad campaigns to reach voters.
Spanish in the USA. Why learn Spanish when moving to America.
What role does Spanish play in the USA? Which language to choose to study for moving to America: English or Spanish? That is what this article will be about.
I recently had a group of people who wanted to learn Spanish, where 50% planned to work in America. These are people who have already been to America. Everyone already speaks English at their own level. However, in order to find a good and well-paid job in the US, knowing English alone is not enough.
Why learn Spanish when moving to the USA and in what other situations can knowledge of Spanish be useful?
Spanish is the second language of the United States. And one of the reasons is the historical events during which part of the land of Mexico was transferred to the United States. Second, there are many Hispanic immigrants living in the United States today.
The Spanish language is really important in the USA. So, most American students choose Spanish as a foreign language. It is estimated that approximately 12% of the US population speaks Spanish. Experts predict that the percentage of the Hispanic population will increase more and more every year.
The current states with the largest Hispanic populations are:
- Puerto Rico;
- New Mexico;
- New Jersey;
- City of New York.
Therefore, if a person sets himself the goal of moving to America, knowledge of Spanish will become an absolute advantage for him. Knowing Spanish will help you communicate better with locals and adapt faster in the United States.
One of the main tasks that our compatriots set for themselves when moving to America is to find a well-paid and promising job. Whatever one may say, but Spanish-speaking residents work in all sectors: in government structures, trade, the service sector, etc. Therefore, knowledge of the Spanish language is indispensable. How else to communicate with colleagues and serve customers, given these realities?
It is also worth noting the fact that the United States closely cooperates with Spain and the countries of Latin America. Therefore, working in international companies often involves building business relationships with representatives of these countries. It is much easier to approach foreign business partners by talking to them in their language, in this case Spanish. It is safe to say that American employees who also speak Spanish can count on successful career development and higher salaries in international companies.
For example, one of my students first learned English in order to go to America to work. After he realized that English was not enough. And when he returned, he also began to study Spanish.
A small digression 😊. Spanish and English are very similar in both grammar and vocabulary. Therefore, these languages can be studied in parallel.
Now let’s look at the areas in which Spanish can be useful in the US.
After talking with my friends who have been living in America for a long time, I made my list of where knowledge of Spanish can be useful in this country:
1. Banks . Banks speak two languages: English and Spanish. And if you need, for example, to open an account or transfer money, then you can choose one of two languages for service. That is, any operation in the bank is carried out in two languages: English or Spanish.
2. Hospitals . To go to the doctor you will also be able to choose Spanish or English for service.
3. Mobile connection . To receive any information, you must select one of the languages: Spanish or English. For example, you dial a number and are told: «If you want to be served in Spanish, press the number 1. If you want to be served in English, then press the number 2.»
4. Shops and supermarkets .
5. If you are looking for a job in areas such as:
- Construction . In this area, Spanish is sooo necessary.
- Gardening .
- Hospitality . In this area, Spanish is the language number 1.
- Business in America . Without knowing Spanish, at least at a primitive level, a businessman will lose a huge number of customers. That is, your customers will be only those who speak English. Provided you know English.
6. Lawyers and lawyers . If you have a situation where you need to contact one of these specialists, then you can also choose which language to communicate in.
7. Television . In America, there are TV shows that are broadcast only in Spanish.