April 9, 2012

Six-in-Ten Hispanics Say They Speak English Well

61%

More than six-in-ten (61%) Latino adults in the U.S. say they can carry on a conversation in English “very well” or “pretty well.”

More than six-in-ten (61%) Latino adults in the U.S. say they can carry on a conversation in English “very well” or “pretty well.” A similar share (60%) say they can read a newspaper or book in English “very well” or “pretty well.”

English language proficiency is higher among Hispanics who were born in the U.S. Fully 92% of second generation Hispanics say they are proficient in spoken English. In contrast, only 38% of foreign born or first-generation Hispanics say they can carry on a conversation in English well..
Not surprisingly, third-generation Hispanics are more advanced than first and second generation Hispanics — 96% say they are proficient in speaking English and 94% say they can read a newspaper or book in English “very well” or “pretty well.”

When it comes to the ability to speak and read Spanish, a greater share of Hispanic adults say they are proficient in Spanish than say so about English. More than eight-in-ten (82%) Hispanic adults say they can carry on a conversation in Spanish “very well” or “pretty well.

Levels of Spanish proficiency diminish in successive generations. More than nine-in-ten foreign-born Latinos say they can speak and read in Spanish “very well” or “pretty well.” This share falls to 82% for second generation Latinos, and 47% for third-generation Latinos. Read More