Who Are the 2.8 Million Non-Hispanic Americans Who Speak Spanish at Home? | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Who Are the 2.8 Million Non-Hispanic Americans Who Speak Spanish at Home?

There are 37.6 million Americans who speak Spanish at home, but only 34.8 million self-identify as Hispanic

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Across America, conversations in more than 300 languages roll off the tongues of 314 million people, more than 20 percent of whom speak a language other than English at home. And that rate is rising. Most of these non-English speakers also speak English. But of all the languages spoken in the home other than English, Spanish is far and away the most common, says a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.

According to the the Pew researchers, there are 37.6 million Americans who speak Spanish at home. But, interestingly, only 34.8 million of them self-identify as Hispanic. This means that there are 2.8 million Americans over the age of 5 talking in Spanish who are not Hispanic. Pew:

Who are the 2.8 million non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home? Some 59% trace their ancestry to non-Spanish European countries such as Germany, Ireland, England and Italy. An additional 12% say they are of African American descent.

…The racial composition of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers mirrors that of the U.S. non-Hispanic population. Overall, three-quarters (77%) of non-Hispanics who speak Spanish at home are white, 14% are black, and 9% say they belong to some other racial group.

The big driver of Spanish speaking by non-Hispanics, the report suggests, seems to be family:

Many non-Hispanic Spanish speakers reside in a household where at least one other member is Hispanic. Overall, 26% of non-Hispanic Spanish speakers live in these types of households.

…Three-in-ten (28%) non-Hispanics Spanish speakers who are married live with a Hispanic spouse.

According to a different Pew study release last year, the rate of interracial marriage in the U.S. is also on the rise—one in twelve marriages are now interracial—which could further accelerate the diversity of languages used in America.

More from Smithsonian.com:

At American History, Meet the Composer of the Spanish Language National Anthem
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Try a Spanish-Language Scavenger Hunt

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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