We are becoming bilingual

In twenty years one third of young adults will have had bilingual experience. In some states like California, 6 of 10 young adults will have come from bilingual households. This does not include young persons who grew up in a solely English household and learned another language. Can you think of other facts that so dramatically show how global our demographics have become?

I found this out through analysis of data on languages spoken at home where there is a child 8 or younger.

One-third (11.2 million) of the nearly 23 million preschool-age children (8 or younger) in the United States live with a parent who speaks a language other than English. These households are demographically very diverse. For 31% of the households, the highest educational attainment of either parent is less than high school. But 41% have graduated from college – reflecting the hourglass profile of immigrants.

Nationwide, the five most common non-English languages nationwide are: A Spanish, B Chinese, C Arabic, D Tagalog and E Vietnamese (F: Other).

A fifth of bilingual household young children nationwide live in California, or 60% of all young children who live in that state. Their parents are much better educated than the national average, with only 8% without a high school degree and 50% with a college degree.

States differ dramatically in the most common non-English languages spoken at time. For example, in California, the distribution of languages is heavily tilted toward Spanish. The top five are A Spanish (67%), B Chinese, C Tagalog, D Vietnamese and E Korean (F: Other). As noted, the affected children are half of the young children in the state.

In Minnesota, the distribution is much more balanced: A Spanish (26%), B Somali, C Hmong, D Arabic, E Russian (F: Other). 22% of young children live in dual language households. 32% of these households have less than a high school education, but 42% have graduated from college.

From The Migration Policy Institute. For data on each state, go here.

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