September 5, 2013

What is the future of Spanish in the United States?

FT_Spanish_NewWith 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.

FT_Spanish_EnglishThe 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.

Topics: Language, Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Hispanic/Latino Identity

  1. Photo of Mark Hugo Lopez

    is director of Hispanic research at Pew Research Center.

  2. Photo of Ana Gonzalez-Barrera

    is a senior researcher focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.


  1. Anonymous1 year ago

    I believe that Spanish will be the spoken language of the U.S. Someday. How can you fight it. We are almost surrounded with Spanish speaking country’s and we also teach Spanish in school and at home.

  2. Anonymous1 year ago

    Many websites that show spanish speaking maps, have the audacity to shade in large parts of the United States to make it look like Spanish is a de facto language spoken there. Although there are many spanish speakers in the USA, it is still a language of immigrants who speak spanish. 75% of the states have now made English as the official language. Nowhere is it written in law that Spanish is a co-official language of the united states. But the maps on hispanic websites purposely make spanish out to look way more important than it really is in the United States. This is annoying as hell !!

    1. Anonymous1 year ago

      I agree completely!

  3. Anonymous1 year ago

    If Spanish is a foreign language in the US we could also consider English as a foreign language. As far as I know UK is not part of the United States . Navajo is not a foreign language. the constitution of California or Texas was de Spanish. Can we consider the language spoken in New México since for centuries as alien language there.
    by the way to those admirers of English colonization I would recommend Nigeria Bangladesh Jamaica

  4. Mario2 years ago

    Hispanics are obsessed with painting the Spanish language out to be more than what it is. Spanish IS NOT a world language. Sure, there are 400 million plus speakers, but 98% of them are located in the Americas. Spanish very little, if no presence Africa and Asia for example. Canary Islands, Ceuta and Mellila do not count, because they are properly part of Spain, which of course is in Europe.

    Hispanics like to point out that Spanish is the, de facto, 2nd official language of the USA. Bullcrap! Spanish speakers may be more numerous than speakers of other languages in the US, but Spanish IS NOT the 2nd official language of the United States. Furthermore, the vast majority of 2nd and 3rd generation hispanics do not speak Spanish with any appreciable command of it. It is just a matter of time before hispanic illegal immigration is mostly stopped. Over time, they will just blend in with the general USA populace just like all the other large immigrant groups of the past i.e., German, Jewish, Italian, Polish, etc.

    The only true global languages today, in other words, languages that are spoken OFFICIALLY on continents all over the world, are: English, French and Portuguese. Sorry, but Spanish does not fit this bill. End of story.

    1. Oskar Limka2 years ago

      You’re right about one point: Spanish is not the USA’s second official language, as the USA has no official language at all. No, not even English.

    2. rick santos1 year ago

      Hey Mario –

      I think you are absolutely right, and look at this through rational/longer term eyes, rather that emotional eyes, the vast majority of 2nd/3rd+ Gen Hispanics (US Born) do not have a strong/comprehensive grasp of Spanish (even if they may speak “mami/papi” Spanish at home), which are about 70% of the population are US Born, and rising (the sizable majority of the Hispanic growth/birth since 2000 has been US Born, Immigration from Lat-Am is net-zero, and reducing), and you are right Illegal Immigration is unsustainable (med-long term), and will eventually be curtailed/reduced (probably like the 1920’s Immigration Restrictions/Time-out).

      Also notice that Asian Immigration has overtaken Mexican/Lat-Am Immigration, European Immigration to the US has also increased since the 1990’s and African Immigration though low has slightly increased.

      You are also correct about the blending in with the wider population (the same with Asians). US Born Hispanics/Asians, intermarry at high rates, about 30% of US Born Hispanics and 35% of US Born Asians Intermarry. This increases to 40%-50% in the 3rd Generation and the College Grads its even higher (check out the Pew Survey/Study).

      Finally English Only Hispanic households are on the rise, by 2020 34% of Hispanic Households are English dominant. Even the Spanish Speak/Bilingual Households due to multi-generational living usually the kids speak English to each other and Spanish to Mom/Dad or Grandparents….

      All evidence points to the great Hispanic immigration slowing/timing-out even from Mexico. Even Asian Immigration will slow down, and we will likely have a Immigration timeout in the not too distant future. The likelyhood is a large Mixed population of Hispanics/Whites and Asians, in the coming decades.

      Also notice the rise is English Language Media Geared toward hispanics/mixed markets. Even Univision/Telemudo accepted than Spanish Language Media is largely aimed/watched by immigrants, not US Born Hispanics, as the US Born Hispanics (adult population) is now on the rise/increasing I suspect longer term Spanish Language Media in the US Will Gradually Decline!

      Finally all this “Hyphenated-Americans”, that the identity politics of the Liberals/Progressive/Democratic Party push, helps to divide the masses, we should focus on the AMERICAN rather than the hyphen, but we cannot (really) do that until we have an immigration timeout/restriction, which I believe will happen sooner rather than later…


      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Obviously, you have not been to Miami or the Southwest. Spanish is expanding and will be stablished as the second language nationwide. Hurrahs…

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      To say, as I see in below comments that Spanish is not a global language, demonstrates ignorance, so those comments do not deserve a minute of attention. The Spanish, just for historical justice, should be cooficial language along with English in the US. Why? Because the vast majority of the territory that is nowadays the United States (excluding Alaska, it’s just ice), belonged to Spain for centuries. Spain, financed the American War of Independence with weapons, silver and creating battlefronts for the English forcing them to divide their forces, key fact for the succed of the campaign. The British were defeated in every battle (Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Baton Rouge).

      America must tell the story as it was, not forgetting the facts. And this today has its connection, as many US Citizens believe that the Mexicans are the “invaders” and you have to throw them …. Mexicans have been there for many generations , and therefore have the same or even more right to be there. I understand that history is written by the winners, but nowadays.. 21st Century…Lets say the truth!!

      Historical memory is what US needs, with that, with a little more respect and conscience, this great country would be much more respected and loved.

      Highly recommend this book for those interested in the true story of how the 13 colonies could gain independence from the British, the origin of US.…

      1. Anonymous1 year ago

        Finally, I read an informed and fair comment!

      2. Anonymous1 year ago

        Now tell us how your DNA test came out Conquistador/Aztec ? Tell us about your peaceful genes.

        Preach some more to us about your self serving ‘history’ narrative.

    4. Jorge Porras1 year ago

      That is not true. Immigration proves it differently. Also, Spanish is becoming more and more important in US and the whole world, believe it or not…

    5. Anonymous1 year ago

      Where did you find that datum? On the contrary, Spanish is expanding in all counts, much to your regret!

  5. doyle2 years ago

    the future is teaching these people English, so they aren’t left out of the economy. stop toying with your readers dreams of a larazian utopia, it isn’t gonna happen……

    1. kitty2 years ago

      It’s important to be able to speak English, but it always helps to know a second language. I was born in Russia, live in the US, am bilingual Russian-English, but I also speak Spanish and Italian. Most Europeans speak multiple languages, but most Americans don’t. When Americans visit other countries they expect the whole world to speak English. Newsflash – it doesn’t always work.
      Speaking multiple languages is culture, and it also exercises your brain. Studies shows that speaking multiple languages delays Alzheimer.

  6. George2 years ago

    As we know, South-Western part of US was a part of Spanish Empire and later Mexico. Plus Puerto Rico is current part of US even if it is not incorporated. Therefore spanish language is the second true american language. So, if you respect South-western states respect their heritage as full-fledged american.

    In other words Spanish is native language of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Utah, Florida. Respect spanish to respect these states. Every country needs a foreign or second language. But for US Spanish is more usefull and simple. I mean French, Chinese and others are very difficult, and spanish is beautifull and very widespread.

    1. Max2 years ago

      Actually, French is easier to learn for English speakers due to the number of cognates. These cognates are from the 1200s when the Normans ruled over England. For example it was cow to the workers in the field who raised but it was boeuf (beef) for the French-Normans who ate it.

      1. Oskar Limka2 years ago

        And grapes for the workers in the field but raisins for the French-Normans who ate them… oh wait, but grapes don’t grow in England.

        1. Thiago Simmonds2 years ago

          Lol!. That’s so freaking funny. There is no point on fighting over the topic of which language should be official or is more important and crap like that. The fact is that in Europe ” where every country has its own native or mother language, i.e. England – English, France- French, Spain- Spanish and so forth ” as Kitty stated most of its inhabitants are fluent bilingual or are even fluent in a third language and that’s due to the fact of their need to communicate to each other otherwise there wouldn’t have been no commerce at all. We can’t say the same in the americas, cause we don’t have a north american-ish or south american-ish language that we can feel proud of , we only have the ones imposed for our colonizers, Spanish, English, French or any other from ” guess where – Europe ” isn’t it ironic? So pick up your poison, swallow it and be freaking happy with it. Other than that I consider to be the smartest gift you can give to yourself and as one the most beautiful not so expensive and best legacy gift that will still be worth your money through time for the good sake of your future children ( unless you pretend to be an isolated heartless ogre with no family, no future, no kids no life ) that you can leave behind. I , myself can communicate with german, english, spanish, french, Italian, portuguese, swedish, norwegian, and danish speaking fellows that make up to over 2 billion people around the globe and I can so proudly happy state that is the best gift im leaving behind to my kids ages 4 and 5 who are learning their third language already which is german( this together with english will allow them to learn the Nordic ones), they already speak spanish( this one allows them to learn Latin, italian, french and portuguese easily later on) and english. So be smart and think about it, it’ll be your lost at the end. Educate yourself, grasp all the cultures you can and learn from it, anyways we only have one life in this world.

        2. Paul Dean1 year ago

          OH yes we do grow grapes

          and we beat the French at some wine making.

  7. Fernando2 years ago

    Some hispanics argue that Spanish is more widespread than other languages i.e., Portuguese because it is spoken by immigrant communities in many countries in the world. Newsflash…Portuguese, aside from where it is officially spoken (in 5 continents officially), it is also spoken by millions of Portuguese speaking immigrant communities in numerous countries worldwide i.e., south africa, venezuela, canada, germany, france, andorra, australia, namibia, paraguay, uruguay, USA, hawaii, bermuda, senegal, japan, india, china, etc. So you spanish speakers cannot use your immigrant communities in different countries in the world to bolster up your so called important spanish language. The success of a language is about where it is spoken offically across the globe. Portuguese has that, and Spanish does not. Plus, the Portuguese speaking countries are emerging economic powerhouse i.e., Brazil (now 5th strongest global economy), Angola (the Brazil of Africa), but where are the Spanish speaking economic powerhouses?? Mexico? Colombia? The drug cartel countries? Please! 80% of spanish speaking countries today are still nothing more than modern day banana republics. Sorry to be so blunt, but the truth hurts.

    1. Andrés2 years ago

      No need to compete between spanish and portuguese. They are extremely similar languages of a same geographical origin! I love Portugal and Brazil. I’d like to love you Spain, Mexico, and USA…

      1. Phil2 years ago

        Interesting analysis but I don’t think portugeuse outbeat spanish in any ways. Yes Portuguese spoken in Brazil, and 2 countries in Africa but It doesnt have as much international prestige as spanish does. Spanish is for instence an official language of the UN while portugeuse is not. If I had to compare a language influence to the one of spanish I would rather say french. Spoken by 30 countries worldwide and also second most learn language as a second language after english and official language of almost all international organizations.

        1. Joe2 years ago

          No Phil, Portuguese is spoken OFFICIALLY in 6 African countries, Macau (China), East Timor (Oceania), and still by 10,000 in the fromer Portuguese colony of Goa, India. Plus, Portuguese is being vigourously taught in Japan where there are 500,000 Brazilian Japanese. And, Portuguese is being vigorously taught all across China. China does tons of trade with all of the Portuguese speaking countries/territories (11 in all). The USA, India and China realize the great global economic importance of the Portuguese language.

    2. Thiago Simmonds2 years ago

      My friend you need to read some history about how far the ” first empire where the sun never sets ” i. e. The spanish empire which engulfed the portuguese one reached out. There are spanish speaking people all over the globe, they mostly talk about those communities or places where spanish influence is greatest, it doesn’t mean spanish is not spoken in Africa or Asia. Google it or go to your books.

    3. Anonymous1 year ago

      fernando is sad what you say on your post…must be that brazil is on a economical crack down…due to the corruption and bad politics…these days.
      now mexico and peru.. colombia chile or even argentina are growing more and faster…
      portuguese is a nice language but really useless around te world…
      think that 40% than portuguese people speak spanish…and here in spain 3% of people speak spanish…why?
      because portuguese economy in nul…
      we controle about 45%of bank industry in portugal and 25%in brazil…
      we are 500 million spanish speaking people around the worl..oficial in 5 continents ..and portuguese only 200 million ….do not be su pretencious…even if we all love portuguese people.

  8. Danny2 years ago

    Knowing a foreign language can bring nothing but benefits to everyone. I’m a half-Cuban second-gen American and right now I’m learning Spanish and Arabic. But I never learned Hungarian or Hebrew or German, because my dad’s ancestors (who immigrated in the 1910s) saw absolutely no need to indefinitely pass down elements of their old culture to their American posterity–and I’m puzzled and a quite worried about why Hispanics today feel their Latin American culture is somehow superior to the Italian or German ones and warrants holding on to at the expense of assimilation and success in America. This is what happens when a single ethnic group gets disproportionate representation in the share of immigrants–it becomes self-sustaining, insular, ruins the opportunities of those trapped in it, and threatens to tear society apart. Look at how French Quebec almost seceded form Canada in 1995! Or Northern Ireland, Kurdistan, the Balkans, it goes on and on… People clearly need a common culture, language, and identity; merely living in the same “nation” with allegiance to the same government isn’t enough to unite them. No more multiculturalism, and we need to reduce legal immigration from 1 million to about 200,000 to 300,000 to give our immigrants a couple generations to assimilate.

  9. Andrés2 years ago

    Many comments in this post show a sort of competition between languages and cultures from “supporters” of every “team” – even portuguese against spanish! But that is nonsense…

    The status of english as lingua franca of our era is not in discussion; why, then, criminalize spanish as some kind of language from a second-division human beings? There is no contradiction in speaking both languages at the same time. In fact, there are advantages to it.

    And it is not a matter of skin colour either (I write from Spain and I am, at least, as white as the whiter of you; I’ve had skin cancer because of that). That should be a minor issue, intelectually speaking.

    Saber hablar inglés y español a la vez no le hará daño a nadie, creo yo; y no veo el porqué de negar los orígenes, sobre todo en un país que le debe su poder y grandeza (ambos enormes) a la inmigración.

  10. Carlos2 years ago

    El español es el segundo o tercer idioma mas hablado, incluso por delante del ingles, pero he de decir (y soy de España) que su relevancia cientifica, tecnologica, academica y tambien en otros campos (musica, cine), esta muy muy por detras del ingles, la “cultura hispana” esta en claro retroceso, eso es evidente . En cuanto al futuro del español en USA solo decir esto, cuantos estadounidenses de origen italiano saben el italiano?, muy pocos no?, pues ese es el futuro del español en USA

    1. Oskar Limka2 years ago

      I’m not sure about the future, but in the present if you order a burrito en la Lengua de la Raza in LA, you will get a better tasting thing than if you do it in Gringo.

  11. Nora2 years ago

    Speak several languages is culture and, agree with susi, in this country the most of the people only speaks, writes and reads in a fuild way only one language. Iwas raised and educated in Mexico and we were 6 siblins mother and father and my parents always were worried about education and speak another language was part of it.

  12. Susi2 years ago

    i speak English and German fluently. I can get by in French and Spanish. In Europe many people speak two, three and more languages. I love this country, but I find many Americans either too afraid that they can’t learn another language or too lazy. Sorry but the truth hurts. Shut off the TV, join cultural groups, spread your wings. You might be surprised and like it. My life is so rich because I know people from Mexico, Porta Rico, China, Vietnam, Ghana, South Africa and more than I can list. Try starting with something simple, like a world cook off. Invite people from your church to each bring a meal from their culture and then share cultural heritage. I’m proud to be in the most “culturally” diversified counties,America. Embrace it. Learn another language any other language.

    1. Fdeee2 years ago

      For many people. myself includes, there’s no point in learning other languages when English is already the language of Business, and arguably the global language. Why study other languages (which take time) when you can spend that time studying mathematics, economics and other subjects (that also take time) instead? Time is limited so one has to be selective in what they learn. Not everyone is inclined to learn several languages, or they’re too pre-occupied with other endeavours. Nothing to do with being lazy. It’s probably more to do with a lack of incentive for many people.

  13. valery mayte mori diaz2 years ago

    yo puedo hablar español

  14. Phibbs2 years ago

    I am a teacher in Massachusetts. Before, I taught English overseas in three other countries (Thailand, Burma & Saudi Arabia). I am not a believer in multiculturalism — meaning all cultures are of equal value and those immigrating here should keep their language & culture. (That sort of nonsense is for countries like Canada or Australia.) It is not in the interest of non-Hispanic Americans — and even Hispanics themselves — to keep their language because that means they will keep their culture. That culture was the same one they or their parents felt it necessary to get away from so as to find opportunity in America. In other words, I do not want a mini-Mexico, a mini-Cuba, a mini-Dominican Republic in my country. Hispanic culture has some nice qualities about it, but ultimately it is poverty-producing, conducive to corruption & superstition and promotes intellectually laziness. Therefore, I think the rest of us should discourage bilingualism wherever it is to be found in the United States.

    1. Dennys Morley2 years ago

      Omg. I totally agree with you. Immigrants come here for opportunity, change their lives, quit making part of a horrible culture/corrupt/etc let’s say Mexicans, they leave it there because it sucks, it’s poor, criminal, corrupt etc, so they come here because it’s better in every aspect, so I’m also against having a mini Mexico in America, well if u wanna speak Spanish and keep your culture or originality, then don’t leave Mexico or whatever your country is. Just stay, it’s better than trying to force your old miserable country culture into another country. In other words, bringing ur miserability with u, and over the years, transform this into another miserable country. Where will y’all go when this becomes another Mexico? Please, people. America is better at everything. Language, helath care, etc etc, so stop speaking Spanish. The good part about hispanics’ kids is that they speak english as first language and spanish as fluent (second), then their kids won’t even speak fluent Spanish. That is what the article is saying.

      1. kykycruz2 years ago

        Last time I checked, U.S.A was all about “mini mexicos, mini chinas, little italy’s,” etc. Also, spanish is spoken a thousand times faster than english, so we get our stuff done before you even finish your first sentence. America is NOT better at everything. Oh, and try and name 3 other hispanic countries besides Mexico. And I bet you think Puerto Ricans should be deported (LOL!). No one understands the situations of these latin american countries, as every american thinks “you can lead a dog to water blah blah” yet in these places, there isn’t any water to begin with! Intellectual Laziness? Working from 5am to 5pm 7 days a week at your deli making your sandwiches mean’s the hispanic is the lazy one? And corruption from latino/latina immigrants who are completely under the radar and have no ability to contribute to or change politics? Meanwhile here we have presidents who join “skull and bone” societies and don’t tell us anything? The CIA and Mobs who backed JFK’s assassination isn’t corrupt? I am bilingual, I’m half hispanic and half white. I’m sure now that i’ve said I’m half white you take my argument with more credibility. I believe your comments are wrong, racist, expired and out-dated like some old sour milk.

        1. João Ferreiro2 years ago

          You do know that English the most spoken Language in the ENTIRE PLANET!. I have been to Porto (Puerto?) Rico, Cuba and Mexico and using my Portuguese and English I was understood, didn’t even have to learn Spanish. Our ” Belíssimo país (USA)” is not the best but it is far better than any Latin American country, including meu Brasil, amaldiçoado pela corrupção.

          What I find funny is that people portray Hispanic (Spanish) speakers as “the new help” and blame the country’s suffering as if they created these evil corporations that have their filthy paws even in politics. The Politicians are the real problems (the big fish) as mentioned, not the Ethiopian cab drivers, the Mexican housekeepers or the Filipino bank tellers.

          A hegemonia dos EUA está perto do fim.

      2. Martinez Desmin2 years ago

        Okay! Let me stop you there just because we speak another language doesn’t mean you have to categorize us as bad for the country you live in. If we want to bring our culture with us we can. As long as were not hurting anyone. We have freedom in this country to speak what ever language we feel like speaking. If we want to speak English we can if we want to speak Spanish we can to. It all involves what the person is comfortable speaking to. And also they arent bring there miserablity with them just because they decide to show up in the United States. If they so happen to do then that’s there problem. The point here is stop categorizing one person or a few people who do wrong as the whole race or nationality about doing something wrong. I am Hispanic and African and i would never even think that someone would say such a thing especially because there hating that a certain population of race is growing.

      3. Ismael Quispe Fuentes2 years ago

        your country is USA not AMERICA, AMERICA is the continent

    2. America Withnohate2 years ago

      Is not the culture that produces those conflicts in those countries. It is the poor management by the governments and the inequality established or caused by big corporations in most cases (American Corporations) with the assistance of the crook local leaders. So the “Hispanic Culture” has nothing to do with it. If that was the case than America will be full of rapist, murderers, gangsters, criminals, outlaws and all types of barbarians of European ancestry. Believe it or not my friend Europe also exported all types of people to America, was it because of European cultures? Absolutely not, it was because of other reasons that have nothing to do with culture and everything to do with the management the government gives to its society.

  15. dan2 years ago

    I have found the Hispanic population to be very family oriented and a great pleasure to have them in the United States. However, I don’t believe it’s a good idea to allow such a strong foreign influence to persist in the USA. I don’t see how it is fair yet alone legal to only hire someone who speaks Spanish over people who don’t when you’re not involved in an international business. This is extremely common and favors a certain portion of people from a selected country over any other large migration of populations to the US.

  16. Johnny3 years ago

    News flash….Portuguese is now, without a doubt, the NATIONAL language of Angola, spoken fluently by 90% of the population. And yes, Angola is in the top 3 strongest economies of Africa. This only strengthens the Portuguese language profile internationally. How do I know? Well, for starters, China is presently doing TONS of trade with OIL RICH (among many other commodities) Angola. Mozambique is not far behind….also officially a Portuguese speaking country. Macau, China, is now the Las Vegas of the world, they make much more money than Las Vegas. So what you say? Well, the Chinese are learning Portuguese as a second language like never before. Why? For starters, Portuguese is the co-official language along with Cantonese, and….China is present ly doing tons of trade with ALL of the Portuguese speaking countries (10 in all). When China is your big trading partner, needless to say, you are in VERY GOOD SHAPE linguistically and otherwise. Then there is East Timor, about 700km directly south of Macau, China. So what? The co-official language of East Timor is, you guessed it, Portuguese. Moreover, the Chinese are doing tons of trade with OIL RICH East Timor. God blessed most of the Portuguese ex-colonies. Most of them a natural resource rich and incredibly beautiful i.e., Brazil. Oh, speaking of Brazil, it is now the 5th strongest economy of the world. The 2016 summer Olympics will be hosted there. The official and national language there is, you guessed it, Portuguese, spoken by 100% of Brazilians. In case you don’t know, Portuguese is spoken by 51% of the population of \South America. Hard to believe right? Try this on for size…Brazil occupies 48% of the South American territory – that’s a continent unto itself! And of course there is beautiful Portugal, the crown of Europe. Never have I met 1 person who did not fall in love with Portugal. Tourists say that they much prefer the mild manners an friendliness of the Portuguese versus the temperamental and rude Spaniards. And the Portuguese Azores and Madeira islands. My god, those are the sub-tropical peals of the Atlantic. Ditto for the Cape Verde Islands (officially Portuguese speaking). Now many countries in the world want to join the CPLP (Portuguese speaking countries) – some have joined already i.e., Equatorial Guinea, and they even adopted Portuguese as a third official language. Galicia, Spain is next, then Senegal, and there are already many associate members such as Galicia (they already speak Galego-Portuguese), India (currently, former Portuguese colony Goa is undergoing a Portuguese language and culture renaissance there), Maritius, etc., etc. Look at a CPLP map and see for yourself how many parts of the world are either part of CPLP, or want to be a part of it i.e, Australia. Take the Lusofony games: Members of this are spread out across the globe – it is the equivalent of the Commonwealth games. Folks, the Portuguese language is exploding fast ALL OVER THE WORLD. This is what constitutes and INTERNATIONAL language, not Spanish which is limited only to Spain, 1/2 of the Americas, and 1 tiny country in Africa. You decide. Portuguese has already surpassed the French, Russian, German, and Japanese languages in terms of native speakers. Just Brazil alone has 205 million native Portuguese speakers. When you tack on the Portuguese speakers from the other countries/regions/territories in the world, you get a number like 270 million. Global/International language folks, that what Portuguese is. Thank you.

    1. Aretha2 years ago

      you guys are really annoying. Portugal is the crown of Europe? Hahahaha please, have you ever been to Italy or France? Nobody cares about Portugal. You need to assume that your “empire” is over, guys.
      Btw, I prefer learning Spanish one million times before Portuguese.
      Thank you.

      1. Johnny2 years ago

        This is about the new Portuguese empire dear. The Portuguese speaking countries (10 in all in CPLP) will be an economic global force, with Brazil as the linchpin. Italy, France? Portugal was the father of globalization as it mapped the world.

        1. Dennys Morley2 years ago

          Lmao, the British Empire installed a great form of government in all its former colonies, that is why they’re all successful, Portugal on the other hand wanted to explore ots colonies, not evolve its Empire, so they didn’t care about wherever they were. That is why Brazil, countries in Africa are so miserable, same with Spain and Spanish colonies, South Africa is the best country of Africa, again ex British colony, they are not better though, because the British were kicked out before they could complete the settlement, so South Africa didn’t get British culture or anything, barely the language, spoken as native by 10%, who are all white.

          1. Jimmy2 years ago

            South Africa at least got democracy, a decent legal system and policing system etc. So the British still installed a good overall system in South Africa, despite not implanting a cultural system. It’s largely the strong institutions in South Africa (particularly the legal) system that, at least comparative to the rest of Africa, makes it a strong nation.

        2. Borat2 years ago

          Good for Portuguese speakers.

          Meanwhile English is currently the dominant language and will remain the dominant language. It is already widely spoken the world over and is an official language in 100’s of countries. It is by far the most widely spoken 2nd language in the world. It’s an official language of all global institutions. Even the new Chinese based Asian investment bank, the AIIB, uses English as the language. This is because English is the language of business. Want to work in global finance? You need to know English. Want to work as a pilot? You need to know English. English is the official language of the air waves. All pilots and radio operators need to speak English. Even the EU, the European Union, uses English as an official language. The EU, UK, US, Canada & Aus combined all speak English (or have a very high % of English speakers). Those nations (/ unions) alone already account for a massive proportion of the Global Economy and Global Resources (i.e. Australia and Canada). Much much more than the Portegues economies. Besides, the Chinese still speak English. All of their elite know English (because a large portion of them were educated in the US). Their president, Xi Jinping, speaks perfect English if you’ve ever heard him speak it.

  17. Joe3 years ago

    News flash….Portuguese is now, without a doubt, the NATIONAL language of Angola, spoken fluently by 90% of the population. And yes, Angola is in the top 3 strongest economies of Africa. This only strengthens the Portuguese language profile internationally. How do I know? Well, for starters, China is presently doing TONS of trade with OIL RICH (among many other commodities) Angola. Mozambique is not far behind….also officially a Portuguese speaking country. Macau, China, is now the Las Vegas of the world, they make much more money than Las Vegas. So what you say? Well, the Chinese are learning Portuguese as a second language like never before. Why? For starters, Portuguese is the co-official language along with Cantonese, and….China is present ly doing tons of trade with ALL of the Portuguese speaking countries (10 in all). When China is your big trading partner, needless to say, you are in VERY GOOD SHAPE linguistically and otherwise. Then there is East Timor, about 700km directly south of Macau, China. So what? The co-official language of East Timor is, you guessed it, Portuguese. Moreover, the Chinese are doing tons of trade with OIL RICH East Timor. God blessed most of the Portuguese ex-colonies. Most of them a natural resource rich and incredibly beautiful i.e., Brazil. Oh, speaking of Brazil, it is now the 5th strongest economy of the world. The 2016 summer Olympics will be hosted there. The official and national language there is, you guessed it, Portuguese, spoken by 100% of Brazilians. In case you don’t know, Portuguese is spoken by 51% of the population of \South America. Hard to believe right? Try this on for size…Brazil occupies 48% of the South American territory – that’s a continent unto itself! And of course there is beautiful Portugal, the crown of Europe. Never have I met 1 person who did not fall in love with Portugal. Tourists say that they much prefer the mild manners an friendliness of the Portuguese versus the temperamental and rude Spaniards. And the Portuguese Azores and Madeira islands. My god, those are the sub-tropical peals of the Atlantic. Ditto for the Cape Verde Islands (officially Portuguese speaking). Now many countries in the world want to join the CPLP (Portuguese speaking countries) – some have joined already i.e., Equatorial Guinea, and they even adopted Portuguese as a third official language. Galicia, Spain is next, then Senegal, and there are already many associate members such as Galicia (they already speak Galego-Portuguese), India (currently, former Portuguese colony Goa is undergoing a Portuguese language and culture renaissance there), Maritius, etc., etc. Look at a CPLP map and see for yourself how many parts of the world are either part of CPLP, or want to be a part of it i.e, Australia. Take the Lusofony games: Members of this are spread out across the globe – it is the equivalent of the Commonwealth games. Folks, the Portuguese language is exploding fast ALL OVER THE WORLD. This is what constitutes and INTERNATIONAL language, not Spanish which is limited only to Spain, 1/2 of the Americas, and 1 tiny country in Africa. You decide. Portuguese has already surpassed the French, Russian, German, and Japanese languages in terms of native speakers. Just Brazil alone has 205 million native Portuguese speakers. When you tack on the Portuguese speakers from the other countries/regions/territories in the world, you get a number like 270 million. Global/International language folks, that what Portuguese is. Thank you.

  18. david3 years ago

    Saying the use of Spanish at home will decline because Polish, Italian and German did, is ridiculous and stupid. Spanish is on the radio, television, stores, government facilities and so on. Polish, Italian and German didn’t have that in their favor plus back in those days going back to Germany to visit family and to expose your children to German language and culture meant travelling for weeks across the Atlantic Ocean, just imagine the cost of that for a middle class family. Right now for a Mexican-American all it takes is a short flight or a drive across the border (most Mexican-Americans live in states bordering Mexico). None of the languages previously mention generated so much interest in American population as Spanish. Spanish is the second most learned foreign language after English. There is a serious underestimation in those figures.

  19. Laura Graf3 years ago

    Interesting charts. Would be helpful to have the “speak Spanish at home” subdivided to show “Predominantly speak Spanish at home” along with “Speak roughly equal mix of Spanish and English at home.” Those are two different audiences for planning purposes.

  20. hugo3 years ago

    No olviden que la primera lengua de Estados Unidos fue el Español porque la mayor parte de su territorio fue descubierto por los conquistadores Españoles incluyendo Alaska. La toponimia es relevante. Luego el Español nunca será a “foreign language” en estado s unidos. Por otro lado la mentalidad latina católica es siempre más integradora que la protestante sajona germánica que basa su supremacía en el racismo y el materialismo. A largo plazo el éxito está asegurado.

  21. Kevin3 years ago

    I think it’s important for our future generations to maintain their native language and incorporate the official language of the country.

    1. americsn2 years ago

      totally agree with you. If we lived in their country, we would have to learn their language, why can’t they do the same here?

  22. dubois3 years ago

    je pense que c’est tres bien aux etats-unis. O, j’habite dans une ville en l’etat de Washington mais il n’y a pas de quoi « hispaniques » . anglais et espagnol sont les langues internationales (choquant pour moi ) et ils sont facile a apprendre en l’amerique.

  23. kinichi3 years ago

    Hello, I have just posted my comment below though, I would like to share this article too on HiNative Facebook page( This issue is really controvertible. Thank you.

  24. kinichi3 years ago

    Hi, I am Japanese who is interested in learning English and Spanish, This article is very interesting in the aspect that despite the rise of Hispanics in the U.S. it seems they are trying to make people in their young generation speak English at home. English is the global language and the presence of it would not fall after all. I want to discuss this issue more at HiNative(, the global platform for language and cultural questions. Who are in??

  25. Jose Hernandez3 years ago

    Orale! Praise God for multicultural. I was born in the USA & raised in both countries, Mexico & USA. In less than a month I will be 34. Since I can remember adults from Hispanic, White & other cultures always say to me “I wish I knew Spanish” “I wish my parents would of taught us Spanish or kept it up” “My parents regret not teaching me Spanish”. The future of Spanish in USA will continue to grow, there will continuously be a need for Fluent Bilingual employees. Since I speak both languages, my hourly wages were higher than only English speaking employees. Today I am a professional interpreter in the medical field & I have the opportunity to decide wether to work or not. My only daughter is now 4 years old & she speaks both languages, people are amazed by it, to me, it’s just normal.

    1. dubois3 years ago

      I’m happy that I know both languages here. Speaking both francais and english is advantageous here in The True North (Canada). Spanish is foreign up here in the provinces but French is common here. And yes, knowing two languages or more got me a higher wage than some anglophones in my job but it helps to speak francais as your other language or your first language than espagnol.

  26. Deborah Vander Ploeg Johnson3 years ago

    My children are going to be fluent in both English and Spanish. I think all American children should know both. More knowledge leads to better job opportunities.

  27. Mary3 years ago

    Naturally the arrogant Spaniards engage in stroking their overinflated egos. Even Portuguese is a much better position as it is spoken officially on every continent. Spanish is 99% spoken in the west. Plus, none of the Spanish speaking countries match Brazil’s powerful economy which currently number 5 in the world. And Angola and Mozambique are rich in natural resources, and economic powerhouses in Africa. A language had dynamism and influence when it is spoken widely in the world, and when the economies of the countries that speak that language are strong and growing day by day. This is the Case with Brazil, and the aforementioned Portuguese speaking African countries (6 in all). And the Chinese are doing tons of trade with all of the Portuguese speaking countries. They themselves are learning Portuguese. These factors are what give a language a very bright future, as in the case of Portuguese.

    1. Jose3 years ago

      Thank you for calling me arrogant, but not more than you with portuguese. Fortunately Spanish and Portuguese are brother languages and lexicaly identical in 90%. I´m happy for portuguese. Obrigado

      1. Raghnaid3 years ago

        Agreed. I speak Spanish as a second (or fifth, rather) language, but can understand Portuguese reasonably well. Speaking Spanish has helped me communicated with Portuguese-speakers here in Australia on more than one occasion, and I was insanely jealous of my Brazilian host-sister during my exchange to Spain! She picked up Spanish so quickly.

        Does it matter what language people speak? Can’t we just all agree that no one language is better than the other, and try to learn whichever seems to be the most advantageous at the time?

    2. david3 years ago

      The US census has 50 million Spanish speakers. Those 50 million Spanish speakers have a higher economic power than the 200 million Brazilians and I am not including the illegal population.

      Portuguese is spoken in Brazil and Portugal. In Angola by 39% of the people and Mozambique about 50%. Angola and Mozambique are not economic powerhouses.

      Besides those places, the use of Portuguese is virtually absent. Portuguese is not even an official language of the United Nations. So for Portuguese to compare to Spanish it has to overcome languages like French, German (spoken by 100 million, but much richer than the Portuguese speakers), Japanese, Russian, Hindi, Mandarin, Cantonese and Arabic.

      1. Киран2 years ago

        Все из ваших словах очень отлично, мой товарищ! Португальский важный, но эта не должен быть сближение из испанском языке. Я буду идти на испании очень скоро, и я знаю так эта имеет много важность в етот землe. Any one should know that even if Portuguese is a rather important language, it certainly does not touch Spanish. A friend of mine is from Mozambique and was telling me that although Portuguese is spoken by nearly 50% percent of people, it does not hold as great importance as some may think. Thank you for your intelligent and awesome comment on the reality of things!

    3. Stella2 years ago

      The first language, really was not Spanish, but the dialects of each Native American tribe.
      Pero, entiendo tu punto.

  28. John3 years ago

    The Spanish language is the USA is overrated. Sure, there are millions of Spanish speakers, BUT, English is still the main national language. Descendants of Spanish speaking parents are more interested in English – their parents as well. It is inevitable that English will prevail. When in Rome do as the Romans do kind of thing. Plus, the numbers of Spanish speaking immigrants is decreasing, and at the same time the Spanish language slowly loses ground, while English gains ground.

  29. adewale adeniyi3 years ago

    i like spanis in the hope if i get any job there i will be happy. God bess your conutry.

    1. DAN DALTON3 years ago






  30. Matthew Hall3 years ago

    Define “Hispanic.”

  31. Daniel3 years ago

    Spanish is not a foreign language in the U.S. The fact that spanish is spoken in México does not make it a foreign language as the fact that English is spoken in Canada does not make English as foreign language. European languages came to America and Spanish was in U.S. territory even before than english.
    There is a discrimination attitute against spanish. In Hawai, hawaian is an official language. In Canada french was respected where there were french speaking population. Not the same was done in those territories where spanish was spoken before they were part of U.S. Even the american government tried to eliminate Spanish in Puerto Rico.

  32. Neptune 19623 years ago

    People come to the United States because its the United States- this is were the opportunity is, and the opportunity is created by the system of government we have- we vote in. So you can forget the comments about imperialism and takeover. This isnt the country you wanted to leave. You also make it seem as though Mexico is the only country people are coming from. I have friends from Japan, Germany, Poland, Chile and China-that have immigrated within the past 10 years. they all either learned English before coming because its required in most countries in school- for business and job reasons-or had working knowledge and got better. Including my wife -who is German. I was an immigrant in her country first, and was required to learn German to immigrate. For simple reason- to assimilate -.Its hard enough being in a totally different country without speaking the common language- and respecting the people of that country. My question is if we have so many people immigrating from Mexico -why isnt the Mexican government teaching English? Why are we expected to learn Spanish? How will you become a citizen when you need to learn English to become one. you can’t vote or protest without possibly being deported if you are not a citizen unless you are over 50 and have been here for 20 years. If you don’t vote how can we keep the system of government you came here for in place? I am bi lingual in English and German, and will choose one of my own families languages to learn next.

    1. Thiago Simmonds2 years ago

      No body said you are imposed to learn spanish, it’s up to anyone what they want to learn or not. But one thing is sure, we can’t change the fact that both languages are very important in trading goods and technology. Otherwise how is a new developed piece of technology expected to reach the Spanish speaking world if there is nobody that can be the link between the two cultures? And that’s why knowing both languages not only makes sense but opens the best of both worlds.

  33. Samantha Glenn3 years ago

    I’m sorry I was born in the united states and I speak English, I don’t plan on making Spanish my primary language any time soon.

    1. Noel E. Gutierrez3 years ago

      Samantha, don’t be sorry about Speaking English in America. The English Language is the De FACTO Language of our Nation, but remember that every State decides to use it or not. Spanish is a good Language to know, but at the same time it’s good to learn some Chinese and some German or French to communicate in the World.

    2. Marvin A. Hernandez3 years ago

      That is one arrogant comment. Nobody is saying you will have to switch to Spanish, this is a study to see where Spanish is going. Ignorance still prevails in this nation.

    3. Raghnaid3 years ago

      No-one’s saying it should be your primary language. Have whichever primary language you want. Just don’t forbid other people to have the same choice.

      (Also, if possible, learn a second language. It doesn’t have to be Spanish, but it’s always advantageous to speak another language! That said, you are in the US, so Spanish would seem the obvious choice.)

  34. Igna3 years ago

    i believe Spanish will increase its number in the future

  35. Bill Frampton4 years ago

    Others have noted that in the case of Spanish, the language is spoken in places much closer to the US than those of other immigrants.

    One point which no one else has mentioned though, is the question of identity. As I would hope both of the authors know, in Spanish América means a continent and therefore americano is a continental identity and not a nationality. In Latin America and most of Europe, schools teach that there is ONE continent in the world, a continent called America.

    Thus, Latin American immigrants don’t think they became American by moving the US because they always were American in the same way a German or an Italian is European. In Spanish they can retain the distinction between the continental identity americano and the US national identity estadounidense. If adopting English requires giving up that distinction, it’s perfectly natural for them to reject English as a consequence. This is almost certainly a major factor in the rise of Spanish in the US.

    1. Bill Frampton4 years ago

      That should read one continent in the NEW world, not in the world!

  36. Fred4 years ago

    Spanish, was the first european language in EEUU, spaniards explored EEUU many years before another europeans. Billy the Kid spoke spanish perfectly.

    1. really3 years ago

      Everytime someone abreviates the US in Spanish as ‘EEUU’ I always think they are refering to the European Union. What you said is true. In the continental US Spanish was the first spoken Europe language.

      1. Thalisa Aragon3 years ago

        The abbreviation for the European Union in Spanish is U.E., not E.E.U.U.

  37. Kanae4 years ago

    De todas formas el español es mas fácil de aprender, yo vengo de japón y el primer idioma que mejor manejé en estados unidos (USA) fue el español, (por eso decidí escribir este comentario en español, y no en ingles, para no cometer tantos errores >-<) ademas si la gente aprende español, no tendrán que dejar el ingles, no creen que sería interesante habarle a una persona en un idioma (ingles) y que esta pueda entenderte y responderte en otro idioma (español) y ser capaz de entenderle también? yo he hecho eso con muchas personas que entienden el español pero no saben hablarlo muy bien y la verdad es que resulta muy facil hablar así.

    Saludos desde Japón!!

    1. Juan3 years ago

      Ustedes pensando diferente a Los demás, muchos solo tienen mentalidad de racismo. Yo admiro su cultura y su dedicación a todo lo que hacen por el bien de su patria y su superación personal. (Japón) conosco personas Europeas saben hablar hasta 7 idiomas diferentes. Y en EE.UU. Que cres?. Solo uno.. Porque es idioma universal.. I speak English too..

      1. Luca2 years ago

        He conocido gente de Croacia, Francia, Alemania, Noruega, Albania (aqui es muy comun el espanol) yo vivo en italia. En resumen afuera del mundo el espanol es poderoso, creo que los latinos deberian mantener y hacer crecer su idioma, en Italia se aprende mas espanol que ingles por su similitud

    2. San Diego3 years ago

      Interesting that somebody from Japan found it easier to master Spanish than English while living in the USA.

      Hmm. Most Japanese in the US are in California, which has cities with such English names as Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego….

      I make a point of speaking both languages often and as well as I can. Let’s not forget that Spanish was spoken in huge areas of the USA long before English!

      1. fred flintstone3 years ago

        @ san deigo….it wasn’t the USA then.

      2. miguel baeza2 years ago

        you are so right thanks for helping me under stand more

  38. Carlos4 years ago

    Italian, German and Polish declined in the United States because their countries of origin were so far away, however I could say Spanish will increase and increase a lot in the United States because that country has many many spanish countries under it (Central America & South America)…

  39. Felix4 years ago

    Well, speaking at least two languages is becoming more and more important in today’s society. If the US do not seize this opportunity to increasingly become a bilingual nation they will repent from their shortsightedness in the future. Spanish is the second most spoken language in terms of native speakers in the world and the first in the Western Hemisphere. English is the first language in global communication. Bilingual speakers of these languages will enjoy an increasing advantage. I am from Spain and we would love to have such a situation over here. In Spain school districts are passing laws that require trilingual or bilingual education in all schools, in most cases Spanish-English. The future will be for the multilinguals.

    1. fred flintstone3 years ago

      You Felix should include why spanish is spoken by more and more people here in this USA.

      Surely you know it is because illegal mexicans come here disregarding US law. But of course
      so called americans want them here as well.

      I’d better be quiet.

      If this posts i’ll be a monkeys uncle.

      1. Alice2 years ago

        OK. Stick to English and do not learn anything else.
        I have never really understood why Americans are not even slightly interested in learning other people’s cultures, instead of destroying everything that is not like them.
        Your society is way less developed than the European one. I feel sorry for you guys, but comparing Europe with ‘Murica is like comparing the smart guy of the class that speaks at least two or three languages with the fat lazy guy who gets bad grades and does not freaking care at all, just keeps playing videogames and eating burgers.

  40. Martin Vega4 years ago

    I would like to call attention to the fact that there is a 690,000 to 1,785 million gap between the 2010 figures Ortman and Shin provide, and the actual results of the 2010 Decennial Census for Hispanics 5 years of age and over (45,363 – 44,673, and, 45,363 – 43,578). The estimates and projections done by Ortman and Shin took account three conventional variables: (births – deaths) + net international migration (outflows – inflows). The first two metrics — births and deaths — tend to be predictable, hence easy to estimate year-to-year; however, net international migration data – particularly for undocumented inflows into the U.S. – is much more unpredictable and difficult to estimate and project. Thus, much, if not most of the gap between the Ortman 2008 and 2009 estimates and projections, and the actual results from the 2010 Decennial Census, is directly attributable to the presence in the U.S. of foreign-born Latinos who speak Spanish (and acknowledged as much by co-author Shin whom I interviewed yesterday). Lopez and Gonzalez should have realized the existence of these differences in the data and made corresponding adjustments upward to account for more Spanish-speaking Latinos.

    Second, not all Spanish-speakers whose origins are from Latin America are “Hispanic” or “Latino”. There is a largely unnoticed, yet growing indigenous population from Latin American resident in U.S., from Maine to the state of Washington that may be speak a monolingual indigenous language, but more frequently, has a level of competency speaking Spanish or being bilingual. From 2000 to 2010, this population grew by 516,303, reaching a total of 1,190,904 people. However, these figures significantly understate the size of this population. Post-field Decennial Census studies conducted in California agriculture by Kissam indicate that more than ten percent of this population was undercounted, and the majority is comprised of undocumented and recent arrivals. The point to underscore here is that this important segment of Spanish-speakers was not effectively tabulated in the overall estimates on Spanish-language use in the U.S.

    Third, there is a broader universe out there of Latino heritage speakers (second, third, fourth and fifth generation) who are part of the growing statistics of Spanish speakers present at all levels of the educational system, learning or deepening their knowledge of the language, alongside non-Hispanics:
    • The Instituto Cervantes and Fundación Siglo estimate that there are between 6 to 7.8 million persons learning Spanish in U.S. schools
    • In 2012, enrollment in university-level, advanced Spanish reached 862,688 and continues to grow on an annual basis

    Lastly, as a result of globalization and cross-border (U.S.-Mexico) commerce and trade, the flows of native, Spanish-speakers from Latin America to the U.S. serves to stimulate demand for Spanish-language use in the most varied industries: entertainment and hospitality, fashion, sports, consumer products goods, retail, etc.
    • The U.S. Office of Travel and Tourism Industries estimates that for 2012 approximately 20.9 million persons from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean visited the U.S., spending more than $32 billion . This has led many businesses in key gateway cities such as Miami, New York, San Antonio and San Diego to cater specifically to these consumers in-language
    • In 2011, there were 1.1 million Mexican transfronterizos who were issued B1/B2 border-crossing cards. These cards permit millions of Mexicans who feel comfortable straddling the two cultures and languages, to study, work and by consumer goods and services in the U.S.

    In this respect, the prospects of Spanish-language use in the U.S. must be not be limited solely to U.S. Hispanics, but the broader community where they come from and live.

    1. Mark Hugo+Lopez4 years ago

      Hello Martin,

      Thank you for your detailed and thoughtful comment on our post.

      You are correct that there is a discrepancy between Ortman and Shin’s projections (which are based on 2008 population projections from the Census Bureau) and later data available from the 2010 and 2011 American Community Surveys. In our charts, we present the projections of Ortman and Shin, but also show our own tabulations from the 2010 ACS and 2011 ACS.

      Any population projection depends on its starting point. You’re correct that the 2010 U.S. Census counted more Hispanics than had been expected (…). With new 2010 Census numbers on the number of Hispanics, its likely that the projected number of Spanish speakers would be higher through 2020. Even so, note that no matter the starting point, the number of Spanish speakers is projected to rise through 2020.

      You’re also right that not all Spanish speakers in the U.S. have origins in Latin America or Spain (or other nations as well). We wrote about this earlier this year (…), noting that there are more non-Hispanics who speak Spanish than any other non-English language. That reflects the reach of the Spanish language (in business, schools, universities as you note).

      But its also important to note that the vast majority of Spanish speakers are Hispanic (more then three-fourths). And while there is a broader community of Spanish speakers, much of the growth in the number of Spanish speakers in the U.S. has been driven by growth in the Hispanic population.

      Finally, our analysis (and that of Ortman and Shin) is only of people ages 5 and older who speak Spanish at home.


      1. Tim Norris4 years ago

        Mark;what is your personal prediction on the future of Spanish in the USA? Will it always be important?

      2. Joe3 years ago

        Hey Mark!
        What about the projections of non hispanic people learning Spanish and people studying the language in schools, and elementary schools possibly instructing half the day in Spanish??? Spanish becoming popular in mainstream media and culture in the future??

    2. Eduardo Herrera3 years ago

      Hi Martin.

      I´m Very Interested about the facts that you gave in the articule. I´ve been trying to get some information about how many people study Spanish in the USA and it seems that you have done your investigation too. Could you please tell me where you found your information mosty the one that over 800k students are taking advanced Spanish in the US

      I would Truly Appreaciate your help

  41. Rafael Sanchez4 years ago

    The difference between german, italian or polish respect to spanish is that the decline of those languages was due to the distance to their country of origen. However, spanish is spoken just side by side to the USA.So the influence of the spanish language in the US not only won’t decline but will increase. Greetings from España.

  42. Lumal4 years ago

    Is my opinion, that more and more people are aware of the importance of speaking a second language and the development of more languages will be different in USA not like in the 30’s and 40’s when speaking a language other than English was consider shameful.

    1. Ryan4 years ago

      I still think its shameful. people risk their lives to come to this country because the place they came from is so bad, but then expect us to speak their language, cater to them, require a translator at the doctor or hospital (on someone else’s dime of course). now every sign at Lowes is bilingual, I don’t shop there any more. bunch of bull. if you want to live here, come here legally, accept the country for what it is, learn the language, and obey the laws. if Americans are going to learn a second language, I’d suggest Chinese, they already own us…

      1. Max4 years ago

        I suppose that Puerto Rico or all the other Spanish speaking inhabitants from the territories that we “acquired” from Mexico and the former Spanish empire also “came” to “us”? Many continued to speak Spanish just as the Cajuns continued to speak French in Louisiana for hundred a years until the 30s and 40s (as mentioned above). American Imperialists attempted to force the English language upon Puerto Rico but to no avail. Being that Puerto Rico wishes to formally join the Union, coupled with the fact that there are already many millions of other Spanish speakers, the fact that should be accepted is that the Spanish language is culturally apart of the United States and should be accepted as being “American”.

        My advice is if you do not like it, than go emigrate to one of the other English only countries. Oh wait…

        1. Liz4 years ago

          We won’t allow Spanish to be number one….Won’t happen. I will do everything in my power to prevent it. You see Max my parents were immigrants I spoke only Spanish at one time I came to this country because my parents wanted the American dream. I learned English rather quickly no translators at that time American didn’t cater to criminals. You had to honor America’s values or you were an outcast…..We need to go back to that…Don’t you think?????

          1. Tourist3 years ago

            It is necessary that the natives have children. If you do not, every effort is useless. To the companies are interested in it the buyers.
            The Hispanics has buyers for the future.

        2. Alex3 years ago

          Max, one of the reasons why Puerto Rico has not been allowed to join the Union is precisely because it is a predominately Spanish speaking territory. The Spanish language has never been apart of traditional American culture, just as Islam has never been part of the British or French cultures. Multiculturalism has never proven to be particulilarily successful and to insist that English persist as the national language of education, high culture and commerce, while Spanish is relegated to the poor and uneducated classes is problematic and dangerous.

      2. Lynda Sue Rankin3 years ago

        I agree 100%

  43. Cristina Baccin4 years ago

    Thanks to point this topic in your research. The trend that you are highlighting seems the result of policies addressed to homogenize culture, and language.
    The more diverse we speak, the better would be our culture, and our opennes to diversity. It´s a pity that USA is loosing the gift of, at least, one more language. It already loose other languages that came with immigrants, and it´s loosing Native American languages, as well. Is Spanish the next?

    1. Margaret Nahmias4 years ago

      Maybe it is me, but maybe bilingual Hispanics don’t like telenovelas and look for other options on Anglo TV. Why do think Unvision and the like run all days? I also find the Hispanic News media a little biased towards immgrations covering raids and deportations and protests and not talking about other issues surronding the topics.

      1. really3 years ago

        You feel me! All Univision and Telemundo show is cheap looking ‘telenovelas.’ I also don’t like the reality shows that Univision puts up like ‘Nuestra Belleza Latina’ or a spanish Dancing with the Stars. I wish they would put in higher budget shows like the anglo speaking channels. The plot for telenovelas are also really obvious. The news is biased. They pretty much show the pope and focus too much on the border and immigration. They try to make the detention center where the immigrant childer are held at bad and exagerate when in fact they show it everyday with not even new information.

  44. Carlos Gutierrez4 years ago

    So sad to see the use of Spanish declining in the future. I can see now how 2nd/3d and following generations of immigrants are not speaking it at all.

    1. Fred3 years ago

      That’s just the way it is Carlos.

    2. Mike3 years ago

      That’s right. Spanish is safe in the Countries that speak Spanish officially. But in the US English will always be the number 1 language. In Brazil, a nation of millions and millions of immigrants, Portuguese is not in any danger of remaining the official language. And Brazil is surrounded by Spanish speaking countries. When spanish speaking south americans move to Brazil for example, they must learn Portuguese even though the Brazilians understand the spanish speakers perfectly, as Portuguese and Spanish are so, so closely related. Still, one must learn and speak the official language of the land to have any upward social, economic mobility.

      1. really3 years ago

        The US doesn’t have an official language at national level. There are only official at state level and some states don’t have an official language. English AND Spanish are official in some states/territories. California, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states have Spanish and Enlish as an official language.

        1. Jon3 years ago

          Only Puerto Rico has Spanish as an official language. California only has English and Texas has none. See

      2. Raghnaid3 years ago

        The USA doesn’t have an official language. And if it did, why should it be English? The US has more Spanish-speakers than Australia does people at all. (More than one and a half times as many, in fact). Fairly soon, the US will have more Spanish-speakers than anyone else in the world. The Spanish discovered, invaded, and colonised both North and South America before the British ever got their hands on the place, hence all the Spanish place-names and so forth.

        But it’s sad. If the US doesn’t have an official language, why should people be forced to speak English (or whatever you feel like calling that dialect)? My country has the same issue, with no official language and lots of immigrants having to learn English (or not doing so, as the case may be), and I don’t understand it here, either. Why can’t languages be embraced, countries be made bi- or multi-lingual? It works in so many nations around the world; and unlike Australia, you don’t have just one big dominant language and lots of little migrant languages. You have two languages, and bilingual food packaging!

        1. Jose3 years ago

          The spanish language is given way more attention than it deserves. It is spoken in the west, but it is not spoken officially anywhere else except spain and equatorial guinea which is a very, very, tiny and totally insignificant. It sounds so foolish when Spanish speakers wrongly claim that the Spanish language is spoken all over the world – not officially! The arrogance and audacity of Spanish speakers in the USA that the Spanish language should be on the same level as English. Spanish is an immigrant language in the USA period. They should acknowledge English as the national language of the land. No one says that they cannot speak Spanish at home.

          The Portuguese language on the other hand, is a truly global language, because it is spoken officially on 4 continents – Europe (Portugal), South America (Brazil, half of South America 51% Portuguese speakers there), Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Sao tome and Principe), Asia (Macau China, and East Timor. Plus, Brazil is the 5th strongest economy in the world. And, China does tons of trade with ALL of the Portuguese speaking countries in the world. Angola is the Brazil of Africa. And, Portuguese is eagerly being learned as a second language EVERYWHERE in the world – even obligatory in some countries i.e., Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa, etc, etc.

          1. ThePaganSun2 years ago

            Stop your nonsense! 1) SPANISH was the FIRST Europan language spoken in the Americas, NOT English, so your ignorant and false claim that Spanish is an “immigrant language to the USA” is stupid! Note that Spanish is already spoken by 13% of the USA population while Portuguese in the region is not significant! 2) Spanish has almost DOUBLE the native speakers that Portuguese has and compared to Portuguese which is only official in a mere 9 countries, Spanish is the 2nd most spoken language by native speakers after Manadrin and is official in 20 countries and a major minority language in an extra 6 (USA, Gibraltar, Andorra, Belize, and the Phillipines which is BTW regarded as a middle power and emerging market in Asia!) Plus, Spanish is an official language of the UN, EU, African Union, WTO, NAFTA, and Mercusur! Also, Spanish is extremely popular as a second language in other countries too and is spoken by 62% of the population of Belize, 13% of the population of France, 11% of the population of Italy, 10% of the population of Morocco (called the most competitive African country in 2015!), 6% of the population of the UK, 5% of the population of Romania, 5% of the population of the Netherlands, 6% of the population of Sweden, 4% of the population of Austria, 5% of the population of Belgium, 4% of the population of Denmark, 4% of the population of Ireland, 2% of Bulgaria, 3% of Finland, 5% of Trinidad and Tobago, 3% of Slovenia, 2% of Slovakia, 6% in Luxembourg and 1% in Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Czech Republic and many significant populations elsewhere! Oh….and even your precious Portugal has 10% Spanish speakers and even Brazil has more than 12.4 million Spanish speakers! And that’s not even counting Spanish derived Creole language or the reemergence of Judeo_Spanish or Ladino! Plus, don’t forget that even your Portuguese is technically derived from Galician which is older! So….yet again your 100% wrong when you claim that Spanish isn’t “international.” It’s STILL spoken in more places and more widespread than Portuguese! And Brazil is hardly the only Latin American country that is emerging! Peru and Columbia have outperformed most of Latin America, including Brazil, from 2007-2013 according to this article:…. And that’s not counting Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile who also usually do very well! Plus, now the USA is reopening relations with Cuba so its economy is sure to emerge too!

            In short, don’t let your obvious jealousy of Spanish numerical and widespread superiority over Portuguese cloud the facts! Spanish is the second most natively spoken language in the world and continues to rise! Here’s the Wiki page so you can see how truly widespread it is:…. So enough with your ignorance!