More Hispanics in the US are speaking English fluently and speaking less Spanish at home, a new study by the Pew Research Center reveals. According to the study, 68% of Hispanics ages 5 and older in the US speak English proficiently.
The new results mark a steady rise from 2000, when only 59% of Hispanics spoke English proficiently. The study found that 89% of US-born Latinos spoke English fluently in 2013, compared to 72% in 1980. The increase in English proficiency among foreign-born Latinos, however, was much smaller, from 31% in 1980 to 34% in 2013.
An increase in US-born Latinos living in English-only households is responsible for this upward trend, Pew Research said.
Conversely, the number of Latinos speaking Spanish at home has been in decline since 2000, from 78% to 73% in 2013. According to the Pew Research Center, despite the decline in Spanish speakers at home, 35.8 million Hispanics speak Spanish at home.
The polling organisation noted that the shifts in English and Spanish-speaking coincides with the rise of US-born Hispanics in the overall Hispanic population in the US. US-born Hispanics surpassed foreign-born Hispanics 35m to 19m in 2013.
According to Pew Research, despite a rise in English proficiency among Latinos, about one-third of them do not speak English well or at all. The study found that 12.5 Hispanics said their speaking ability was less than "very well", while another 3.2m said they do not speak English at all.
The research also revealed that Hispanics ages 65 and older were more likely to rate their English speaking skills poorly and 57% of those that do not speak English are Latina women. The pollster also noted education as a reason for English proficiency.