U.S. Latinos say it’s important for future generations of Hispanics to speak Spanish, and the vast majority speak the language to their children. However, the share of Latino parents who ensure the language lives on with their children declines as their immigrant connections become more distant, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.
Overall, 85% of Latino parents say they speak Spanish to their children, according to the Center’s 2015 National Survey of Latinos. Among immigrant parents, nearly all (97%) say they do this. But the share drops to 71% among U.S.-born second-generation Latino parents (those with at least one immigrant parent). And the share falls to just 49% among third or higher generation Latino parents – those born in the U.S. to U.S.-born parents.
Spanish use also declines in mixed families where one spouse or partner is non-Latino. About 92% of Latino parents with a Latino spouse or partner speak Spanish to their children. By contrast, just 55% of Latino parents with a non-Latino-partner or spouse say they speak Spanish to their children.
Besides speaking Spanish to their children, Hispanic parents can pass on the language by regularly encouraging their children to speak it. About 70% of all Hispanic parents say they provide such encouragement often, but again, successive generations are less likely than immigrant parents to say they do this.
Source: Hispanic Pew Research