Though the United States is now home to more Spanish speakers than Spain, families are finding it difficult to teach the language to the next generation. A Pew Research Center study finds that across the United States, young Latinos are speaking only English at home. Fox News Latino reports that in 2014, 37 percent of Latinos aged 5 to 17 didn’t speak any Spanish at home – a 7 percentage point jump from 2000. But the trend isn’t just limited to children and teenagers. 30 percent of Latinos aged 18 to 33 only speak English at home, compared to only 20 percent in 2000.
Mark Hugo Lopez, the director of Hispanic research at Pew, predicts that this will continue to happen in the years to come. “The Hispanic population is diverse and diverse in a number of ways,” Mark said. “Not all Hispanics speak Spanish and not all speak English. But unless there is a new infusion of immigrants, the share that speaks only English at home is likely to rise in coming years.” Typically, the Economist reports, by the third generation of immigrants, the home language is lost.
But this doesn’t mean that parents aren’t trying to pass down Spanish-language skills. Puerto Rican-born Becky Juarez Sabnekar has worked hard to make sure her children didn’t grow up only speaking English. She had cartoons and movies shipped from Puerto Rico to her New Jersey home, and she and her children only communicated in Spanish with each other.