English proficiency rising among young Hispanics

English proficiency has risen markedly among young Hispanics, an indication of greater integration of the Hispanic population and, perhaps, access to better jobs.

According to Jens Manuel Krogstad of the Pew Research Center, this is due to more young Hispanics being born in the U.S. rather than in their country of origin.

Why this matters:

The Hispanic population has always been younger than other ethnic/racial groups in the U.S. Like all groups, the Hispanic population in the U.S. has gotten older, but with the top line growth of this population a very large share of young people are Hispanic.

Thus, English language proficiency among young Hispanics is an important barometer of immigration integration (1st, 2nd and 3rd generation).

“Of the 74 million children in the United States today, 17.5 million are Hispanic. They are the largest racial/ethnic minority group of children, and also the fastest-growing. Today, one U.S. child in four is Hispanic; by 2050, it will be more than one in three.” (This from a Pew report on Hispanic  children.)

Krogdstad reports,

When asked about their language use and English proficiency in 2014, some 88% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 said they either speak only English at home or speak English “very well,” up from 73% who said the same in 2000.

And among Latinos ages 18 to 33, the share who speak only English at home or say they speak English “very well” increased from 59% to 76% during this time…A greater share of young Hispanics ages 5 to 17 are growing up in households where only English is spoken – 37% in 2014 compared with 30% in 2000.

By comparison, English proficiency among older Latinos has changed little since 2000. For instance, among Latinos ages 34 to 49, 55% spoke English very well or only spoke English at home in 2014 – nearly unchanged from 2000, when the share was 53%. Among Latinos ages 69 and older, just 43% said they spoke English proficiently in 2014, compared with 42% in 2000.

When will half of Hispanic households speak only English?

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