The report also states that the percentage of Hispanics speaking Spanish while they are at home has also been declining. The Pew Research Center, based in Washington, reported that 68% of Hispanics spoke only English at home or spoke English very well in 2013, while only 59% did in the year 2000, according to the Associated Press.
English proficiency on the rise among Hispanics
While English proficiency rose, the percentage of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home decreased to 73% from 78% in the same time period. Over the period of the investigation, it has been noted that migration from Latin America to the United States has slowed down.
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“This is part of a broader trend, which is the U.S.-born driving many of the characteristics of the community, and it is only going to become more amplified,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew.
Despite the declining percentage of those who speak Spanish at home, the overall number still grew to a record 35.8 million thanks to the overall growth in the number of Hispanic people in the United States. The number of Hispanics who speak a high level of English also reached a record 33.2 million.
Hispanic community continues to grow
The number of Hispanic people in the U.S. grew 53% to 54 million between 2000 and 2013, due in large part to growth among U.S.-born Hispanics rather than immigrants. The overall population of the U.S. grew by 12% over that same period of time.
Around 50% of U.S.-born Hispanics speak Spanish, and approximately half of their children retain the language, according to Lopez, who claims that the trend is evident in the growing amount of English-language media targeting Hispanics.
The report used data from the U.S. Census Bureau for Hispanics aged 5 and up, and found that 89% of U.S.-born Hispanics spoke a high level of English in 2013, up from 81% in 2000. Immigrants with a higher standard of education displayed better proficiency in English.
One case is that of 28-year-old Rene Amel Peralta, who says that he has increasingly used English in his education, at the expense of Spanish. Peralta spoke exclusively Spanish when he arrived in the U.S. from Mexico 15 years ago, but now he likes to reconnect with his culture by speaking his mother tongue.