News Column

A Meta-Study of The Market

December 2002, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

According to its formal definition, a meta-study is a synthesis of earlier research.

On the subject of language usage among U.S. Hispanic consumers, Hispanic Business has reviewed dozens of academic journals, general trade and professional books, media sources, and market studies in an effort to track the trends of the market. These pages present the results of that research, pointing to a future in which the Hispanic market conducts a significant portion of its business and personal communication in English.

Voice your opinion -- take the Hispanic Business Language Report Survey.

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COMMUNITY VOICES: LANGUAGE AT HOME

"The language used at home is perhaps the most important factor related to Spanish-language maintenance in the Southwest. Other factors related to speaker circumstances, such as childhood residence and degree of formal education, may be found to be related to patterns of language maintenance as indirect measures of degree of assimilation to the dominant monolingual culture."
--Mary Beth Floyd, Oakland (California) School District
Spanish in the Southwest: Language Maintenance or Shift?1

"How comfortable do you feel speaking English?"
Very comfortable 45%
Somewhat comfortable 19%
Somewhat uncomfortable 14%
Very uncomfortable 22%
Meneses Research & Associates, "Ask San Diego" survey of Hispanics2


"The Puerto Rican community has maintained its bilingual character over the span of generations that is, bilingualism is stable and Spanish is maintained, although there is a shift from Spanish-preference to English-preference in the pattern of bilingual behavior."
--Pedro Pedraza
Language Maintenance Among New York Puerto Ricans3

Language Spoken at Home by U.S. Hispanics
Speak English only 21.4%
Speak Spanish; speak English "very well" 37.6%
Speak Spanish; speak English "well" 16.8%
Speak Spanish; speak English "not well" 14.8%
Speak Spanish only 8.8%
Speak another language 0.5%
Source: 2000 Census, based on population of Hispanic or Latino origin, five years of age or older


"While the shift [to English] may be progressing at a faster pace in the large urban areas such as Austin and Los Angeles, the literature suggests that even in more remote areas like Arroyo Seco, New Mexico, language shift is in evidence."
--Mary Beth Floyd, Oakland (California) School District
Spanish in the Southwest: Language Maintenance or Shift?1

"Do you speak English at home?"
All the time 26%
Most of the time 18%
Some of the time 23%
Rarely 11%
Never 22%
Meneses Research & Associates, "Ask San Diego" survey of Hispanics2

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