News Column

Study: More Hispanics Getting News in English

August 6, 2013


A new Pew study reports more Hispanics are getting their news in English.
A new Pew study reports more Hispanics are getting their news in English.

More Hispanics in the U.S. are getting their news in English and less in Spanish, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

About 82 percent of Hispanics surveyed last year reported consuming at least some news in English, up from 78 percent in 2006. As English language news consumption increased, the study found that news received in Spanish dropped from 78 percent to 68 percent.

The shift in media consumption is due in part to the demographic changes of the Hispanic population, said Mark Lopez, associate director for the Pew Hispanic Center. With more Hispanics born and raised in the U.S., the level of English proficiency is also rising.

"When you take a look at the Hispanic immigrants who are in the United States, their average length of time in the United States is growing," Mr. Lopez said. "And the longer immigrants in the United States stay, the more likely they are able to speak English proficiently."

Approximately 31 million Hispanics ages 5 and older are proficient in English and about 800,000 under-18 Hispanics come of age approximately each year, Mr. Lopez said.

"When you look at those who are in (the newer) generation, you'll find that they are almost exclusively watching television in English," Mr. Lopez said, adding, "You'll find the same thing is true when it comes to news media."

Among some other findings in the study:

-- Television is the most popular media outlet with 86 percent surveyed citing television as their main source of news.
-- Hispanics get their content from an average of 2.4 platforms including TV, radio, newspaper and the Internet.
-- Hispanics are embracing the Internet. Fifty-six percent reported using it as a source of news, an increase from 37 percent in 2006.

Mr. Lopez said the rise in Internet use can be attributed mainly to younger Hispanics, but also because of adults who are adapting to technology changes.

"Things today are different for all Americans when it comes to using technology and gathering news then when it was just six years ago," Mr. Lopez said. "Latinos are just like the general public when it comes to that."
Although there is expected to be a large increase in U.S.-born Hispanics who will speak primarily English, there still remains a market for Spanish news media.

A record 35 million Hispanics ages 5 and older speak Spanish at home and the survey revealed that Hispanics find Spanish-language news media, when compared to English-news media, to be more accurate in their reporting and are best at covering issues relevant to Hispanics.

Mr. Lopez noted that Hispanics turn to Spanish media to get information concerning Latin America and issues related to the Hispanic community, and refer to English media when interested in news covering U.S. issues. This supports the study's findings that half of Hispanics adults get their news in both languages.

Mr. Lopez says that a changing landscape for Hispanics has led to a change in news media offerings. Spanish language news media has been expanding, adding more news programs in the past decade.

At the same time, there's been a growth in the number of news outlets that offer news in English but are targeted at Hispanics.

"There's a lot of different things happening in the landscape that is changing," Mr. Lopez said. "At the very least there is a market or a growing market of interest among Hispanics for topics related to the Hispanic community."

They survey was a nationally representative bilingual telephone survey of 1,765 Hispanic adults conducted Sept. 7 through Oct. 4, 2012.

Source: (c) 2013. All rights reserved.

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