US Hispanics now more fluent in English: Report

Washington: Hispanics living in the US are becoming more fluent in English and speak less Spanish at home, according to a Pew Research Center report published in Washington.

As Hispanics’ command of English grows — 68 percent now speak it easily — the percentage of Latinos who choose Spanish for their conversations at home diminishes, said the report released on Tuesday

The proportion of Hispanics who speak English with fluency has climbed from 59 percent in the year 2000 to 68 percent in 2013, while the proportion of Latinos who use Spanish for family chat has ebbed from 78 percent in 2000 to 73 percent in 2013.

In all, 33.2 million Hispanics speak English easily, 12.5 million can get along in the language and 3.2 million admit they do not really speak it.

Despite the lower percentage of people speaking Spanish at home, the total number of Hispanics who speak that language, 38.5 million, has increased in recent years, due principally to the growing number of Hispanic births.

The development has less to do with the influx of Latin American immigrants, that has dropped in recent years.

According to the study, besides the place of birth, other factors such as age, gender and educational level are influential in orienting a person to use one language rather than another in most conversations.

In that sense, the researchers said that 21 percent of Hispanics who do not speak English are age 65 years or older and, by sex, 57 percent are women.

The survey also shows that 75 percent of Hispanics who do not speak English were also unable to graduate from high school, while those Latinos with a university education speak English perfectly in 61 percent of the cases.

To paint this picture of linguistic trends in the Hispanic population between 1980 and 2013, the researchers of the Pew Center used data from the US Census Bureau.