A record 33.2 million Hispanics in the U.S. speak English proficiently, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In 2013, this group made up 68% of all Hispanics ages 5 and older, up from 59% in 2000.
At the same time that the share of Latinos who speak English proficiently is growing, the share that speaks Spanish at home has been declining over the last 13 years. In 2013, 73% of Latinos ages 5 and older said they speak Spanish at home, down from 78% who said the same in 2000. Despite this decline, a record 35.8 million Hispanics speak Spanish at home, a number that has continued to increase as the nation's Hispanic population has grown.
These shifts coincide with the rise of U.S.-born Hispanics as a share of the nation's Hispanic population, and the slowdown in immigration to the U.S. from Latin America. In 2013, U.S.-born Hispanics outnumbered foreign-born Hispanics by nearly two-to-one—35 million to 19 million—and made up a growing share (65%) of the nation's Hispanic population. They are also much younger, with a median age of 19 years compared with 40 among immigrant Hispanics. At the same time, immigration from Latin America, primarily Mexico, has slowed, leading to fewer Spanish-speaking new immigrant arrivals and a more settled U.S. Hispanic immigrant population.
As a result, since 2000, U.S. Hispanic population growth has been driven primarily by U.S. births rather than the arrival of new immigrants.
Fully 89% of U.S.-born Latinos spoke English proficiently in 2013, up from 72% in 1980. This gain is due in part to the growing share of U.S.-born Latinos who live in households where only English is spoken. By contrast, the share of foreign-born Latinos who speak English proficiently is little changed since 1980, even though the number that is English-proficient has grown. In 2013, 34% of foreign-born Latinos spoke English proficiently, numbering 6.5 million. In 1980, that share was 31% and numbered 1.3 million.
Looked at another way, just 5% of foreign-born Hispanics spoke only English at home in 2013, about the same share (4%) as in 1980. And 29% of foreign-born Hispanics speak Spanish (or another non-English language) at home, but say they speak English “very well,” a share also little changed from the 27% who said so in 1980.
Even though English proficiency is on the rise among Hispanics, there are many who speak English less than very well—or not at all. According to the Pew Research analysis, 12.5 million Hispanics in 2013 said they speak English but rate their speaking ability as less than “very well.” And an additional 3.2 million say they do not speak English at all. Together, these groups of Hispanics make up one-third (32%) of all Hispanics ages 5 and older.
Three-in-four Hispanics who do not speak English have less than a high school education, compared with 52% of those who speak English but speak the language less than “very well” and 18% of Hispanics who are English-proficient.
One-in-four Latinos speak only English at home. And when it comes to consuming news media, among Latino adults, a growing share get their news in English, while a declining share do so in Spanish. Even so, for Hispanics overall, 95% say it is important that future generations of Hispanics living in the U.S. be able to speak Spanish. Nearly as many, 87%, say that Hispanic immigrants need to learn English to succeed in the U.S.
Spanish language use among U.S. Hispanics
As of 2013, 73% of Hispanics spoke Spanish at home, a share little changed since 1980 (75%), but down from its peak of 78% in 2000. Nonetheless, the number of Hispanics who speak Spanish at home continues to grow, as the Hispanic population continues to grow. In 2013, 35.8 million Hispanics ages 5 and older did so, up from 34.3 million in 2010, 24.6 million in 2000 and 9.8 million in 1980.
About 15.7 million Latinos ages 5 and older who speak Spanish at home speak English less than “very well” or not at all.
Among Hispanics ages 5 and older born in the U.S., there has been a sharp decline in the share that does not speak English proficiently.
In 1980, 28% spoke Spanish at home and said they did not speak English proficiently. This share had dropped to just 11% by 2013. By contrast, among foreign-born Hispanics over the same time period, there has been no decrease in the share that speaks Spanish at home and does not speak English proficiently. In 1980, 67% of foreign-born Latinos spoke Spanish at home but also did not speak English proficiently, compared with 66% in 2013.
About 15 million Hispanics lived in California on July 1, 2014, compared to roughly 14.9 million non-Hispanic whites, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released late last week. The California Department of Finance predicted in 2013 that Hispanics would outnumber whites in 2014; the census figures confirm that prediction.
The new data represents a historic shift over a short period of time. California has six times as many Hispanics today as it did in 1970. The number of non-Hispanic whites in the state has declined since 1970.
California Hispanics today enjoy more influence than ever before. They run tens of thousands of California businesses; they support scores of Spanish-language newspapers, radio and TV stations; they make up a sizable proportion of nearly every county in the state, and they hold political positions ranging from mayor of Long Beach to president pro tem of the state Senate.
“It's a milestone for California,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center. “In many respects, California's large population growth has been driven by Hispanic population growth.”
Two factors largely explain the growth in California's Latino population: immigration and high birth rates.
From the 1970s through the 1990s, millions of Mexicans, Guatemalans and other Latinos crossed the border into California, some legally, some not. That immigration has lately slowed, particularly during the last recession, several demographers said.
For the past decade or so, most of the population increase among California Hispanics has come from a high number of births and a low number of deaths, several experts said. Latinos tend to be significantly younger than their neighbors; they are of an age where they are likely to have children.
“What's mostly going is the difference in birth rates in Latinos and non-Hispanic whites,” said Laura Hill, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California.
Conversely, the birth rate among whites is relatively low as the population ages and young, non-Hispanic whites put off having children, Hill and others said.
“Along with this, we see people who have left,” said Robert Suro, a professor at the University of Southern California and director of the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute, a research center that studies demographic diversity. “Somebody who doesn't want to live in an intensely multicultural area has left coastal California by now. Most of them were non-Hispanic whites. Most of them were older adults.”
Latinos in California are largely concentrated in rural farming counties or urban Southern California. About 21 percent of the Sacramento region's residents identify as Latino.
The large majority of Latinos in California are here legally and are working, federal statistics show. Legal immigrants make up more than 80 percent of the state's Latino population, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. More than 90 percent of Latinos in the California labor force hold a job, according to the state Employment Development Department.
“It's a mistake to think California Latinos are just a bunch of undocumented people,” said Jim Gonzalez, chairman of Sacramento's Cien Amigos, a civic action group dedicated to improving California-Mexico relations. “The Latino community is a young, dynamic community. They're excellent consumers, constantly providing for their families, so in pure economic terms alone, this is positive news.”
Even so, many Latinos continue to face barriers. Total Latino household income in California was roughly one-third of household income for non-Hispanic whites in 2013, census figures show. Activists continue to work at increasing voter turnout and social mobility among Hispanics.
When it comes to politics in California, “Latinos punch under their weight,” Suro said.
That could change. Due to population growth alone, California Latinos will make up an estimated 33 percent of voters in the 2040 presidential election, compared with about 24 percent in 2012, said Mindy Romero, director of the California Civic Engagement Project at the UC Davis Center for Regional Change.
“If they increase their turnout rates more, coupled with the increase in population, you are going to see even larger increases in their political influence,” Romero said.
Latinos and other ethnic groups have also made California increasingly attractive to those seeking to live in a diverse community, Suro said. Their growing presence helps the state's economy, he added.
“The population change has a magnet to a certain type of person,” he said. It attracts “people looking for a quickly changing ... new-economy ... multicultural-type place.”
Source: Originally published on the Sacramento Bee as Census: Hispanics overtake whites to become California's largest ethnic group, by Phillip Reese and Stephen Magagnini, June 30, 2015.
The findings show that cultural values may help Hispanic immigrants maintain positive parenting practices and parent-child relationships, despite, on average, greater financial pressures and other factors often associated with greater use of spanking.
Prior studies reported that Hispanics, when compared with whites and African-Americans, were generally less likely to use physical or psychological aggression against young children. However, other studies have not analyzed the link between culture and spanking when it involves Hispanic immigrants to the United States.
In this new U-M study published in the February issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, researchers found that immigrant parents are more likely to endorse traditional gender roles and attend religious services more frequently than their U.S.-born counterparts. Of all factors examined in the study, foreign birth was the strongest predictor of lower levels of spanking.
"Immigrant status may be an important protective factor that is associated with lower levels of parenting aggression among Hispanic mothers and fathers living in the United States," said Shawna Lee, U-M assistant professor of social work and the study's lead author.
Lee and colleague Inna Altschul of the University of Denver examined various factors that contributed to spanking, such as if parents are involved in care taking and have high stress levels. Data came from more than 1,700 Hispanic parents from 20 U.S. cities with populations of more than 200,000 people.
Parents self-reported at three stages (1-year, 3-year and 5-year) if they had spanked their child in the past month and, if so, the frequency of that discipline.
Respondents answered if they endorsed gender norms, such as "Important decisions in the family should be made by the man of the house" and "It is much better for everyone if the man earns the main living and the woman takes care of the home and family." They were also asked about the frequency of attending religious services within the past year.
Greater endorsement of these gender norms is negatively associated with spanking among mothers, but is not a significant predictor among fathers, the researchers said. Religious attendance is not a factor in predicting spanking.
Heavy alcohol use, domestic violence and education of both parents significantly predict spanking of children older than 3. For mothers, other factors include being the only parent involved in raising the child and high stress, whereas fathers are more apt to spank male children.
La mayoría de las cocinas estaban bien surtidas con frutas, verduras, legumbres y mucho pan de trigo. Los investigadores hicieron un inventario de los alimentos en cinco hogares antes y después del entrenamiento y pudieron documentar mejoras significativas atribuibles al currículo de educación sobre nutrición titulado Planear, Comprar, Ahorrar y Cocinar (Plan, Shop, Save & Cook), creado por UC ANR,
“Las clases ayudaron a las familias a hacer pequeños cambios que marcaron la diferencia, llevando a modestos, pero importantes ahorros al final del mes. Si sus alacenas están vacías, cinco dólares extras en el bolsillo son significativos”, dijo Susan Algert, asesora de nutrición, y ciencias del la familia y del consumidor con Extensión Cooperativa para UC ANR en el condado de Santa Clara. “Las familias dieron un giro y gastaron esos ahorros en algo saludable, lo cual es algo que les pedimos que hagan”.
Un reporte sobre el programa piloto fue publicado este mes en el Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. Las familias que participaron son todas elegibles para el programa del gobierno federal de Asistencia Suplementaria sobre Nutrición, el cual en California recibe el nombre de CalFresh. Al componente educativo, administrado por Extensión Cooperativa de UC ANR se le conoce como UC CalFresh.
“Husmear en las alacenas es mucho trabajo, pero resulta revelador”, dijo Algert, autora principal del estudio. “Esto nos da una buena idea de qué cambios hace la gente en casa después de que participan en nuestro entrenamiento”.
Por lo general, la eficacia de los programas de educación sobre nutrición se juzga pidiendo a los participantes que llenen encuestas antes y después de asistir a las clases, pero los errores debido a la atención, comprensión, memoria y registro de información pueden llevar a conclusiones inexactas.
“La observación directa es la regla de oro y es conducida por investigadores quienes van a la casa del participante y registran todos los alimentos presentes en el hogar: en el refrigerador, congelador, alacena y en cualquier otra parte”, señaló Algert.
En la evaluación piloto, todos los participantes eran mujeres mexicanas o mexicoamericanas de entre 27 y 50 años de edad. Una educadora hispanoparlante de UC CalFresh presentó tres clases de dos horas cada una diseñada para ayudar a las familias a hacer rendir su dinero e incrementar el consumo de frutas, verduras y granos integrales. Las sesiones de clases incluyeron información sobre la guía de nutrición Mi Plato del Departamento de Agricultura de EUA, tamaños de porciones, comparación de compras, lectura de las etiquetas, planeación del menú, grasas saludables, reducción de azúcares, clases de cocina y el uso de sobras.
Una tendencia alentadora, dijo Algert, fue que los fondos provenientes del dinero ahorrado no fueron utilizados para comprar comida chatarra, sino para adquirir alimentos más caros como papayas y mangos y pan de grano integral, que es un poco más caro que el blanco.
“Habiendo trabajado con latinos durante muchos años, esto tenía sentido para mi”, mencionó Algert. “Ellos querían frutas que formaran parte de su cultura familiar de México”.
Cuatro de las cinco familias cambiaron a pan de trigo integral.
“El pan de harina integral ha bajado de precio a 2.50 o 3 dólares, por lo que es un comportamiento que las familias pueden cambiar muy rápidamente”, indicó Algert. “Una familia no cambió a pan de harina integral porque según la madre, la familia prefería el sabor del pan blanco”.
Cuatro de las cinco familias lograron comprar menos usando las habilidades que aprendieron en el entrenamiento del programa UC CalFresh, incluyendo la planificación de menús, la preparación de recetas más saludables desde cero y hacer listas de compras.
Una de los participantes dijo que “solía gastar entre cien y ciento cincuenta dólares a la semana en alimentos. Ahora gasto la misma cantidad pero cada dos semanas. Estoy ahorrando mucho”.
Otra participante dijo que el apegarse a la lista de compras ayuda a la familia a mantenerse dentro de su presupuesto”. “Ahora evito llevar a mis hijos a la tiendas 7/11 o de conveniencia porque los alimentos allí no son saludables y solo contribuyen a un mayor gasto, dijo la participante. “De esta manera, estoy ahorrando dinero que puedo usar para comprar alimentos más saludables”.
La salud de la niñez en California refleja esta preocupante tendencia nacional. Para abordar el reto que representa la obesidad infantil a nivel estatal, el programa Food Smart Families de 4-H de California se implementará en cuatro sitios en los condados de Fresno, Orange, Sutter-Yuba y Tulare este año. Otros colaboradores de la UC en este proyecto incluyen al Programa Ampliado de Educación sobre Alimentos y Nutrición (Expanded Food and Nutrition Education) conocido como EFNEP y el programa CalFresh.
Los niños y jóvenes necesitan incrementar su consumo de verduras de color verde oscuro y granos integrales y reducir el consumo de azúcar y grasas saturadas. El objetivo de Food Smart Families es incrementar los conocimientos y motivar un cambio en las conductas relacionadas a la nutrición, preparación de alimentos, actividad física y cultivo de hortalizas y frutas caseras. En el programa participan jóvenes de 8 a 12 años y adolescentes del programa 4-H Healthy Living. A los jóvenes se les va a enseñar directamente a través de lecciones impartidas en los programas después de clases en escuelas primarias de bajos recursos y paseos de estudio por los Centros de Investigación y Extensión de la División de Agricultura y Recursos Naturales (UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Research and Extension Centers) conocidos por sus siglas en inglés como REC: Kearney REC en Parlier, South Coast REC en Irvine, Sierra Foothill REC en Browns Valley y Lindcove REC en Exeter. El programa está estructurado en torno a un currículo y prácticas de desarrollo juvenil positivo las cuales ofrecen una intensa participación a niños, adolescentes, familias y otros interesados. Para conducir los programas y asumir posiciones de liderazgo, se reclutarán y capacitarán adolescentes de los clubes locales 4-H.
La implementación del programa se iniciará este otoño y continuará a lo largo del año escolar. Esté al pendiente de más noticias interesantes sobre California 4-H Food Smart Families en los próximos meses, conforme las actividades entren en pleno apogeo.