|MEDIA CONSUMPTION, BY LANGUAGE|
|Language preference||All Hispanics||Native-born Hispanics||Foreign-born Hispanics|
|Spanish and English equally||26%||20%||30%|
|Source: The Pew Hispanic Center, National Survey of Latinos, 2002|
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 72 percent of foreign-born Hispanics are Spanish-dominant and another 24 percent are bilingual. Conversely, 61 percent of native-born Hispanics are English-dominant and another 35 percent are bilingual (see table, "Primary Language, by Nativity," above).
The language-dominance figures for native-born Hispanics reflect the rapidity with which language preferences change from one generation to the next. Among first-generation Hispanics (foreign-born U.S. residents), 72 percent are Spanish-dominant and only 4 percent are English-dominant. In the next generation (native-born offspring of immigrant parents), however, only 7 percent are Spanish-dominant, with the remainder nearly equally split between English-dominant and bilingual. In the next generation, the Spanish-dominant category disappears entirely. Fully 78 percent of third-generation Hispanics are English-dominant, with the remaining 22 percent classified as bilingual (see table, "Primary Language, by Generation in the U.S.," above).
These trends promise to become more pronounced in the future. As more Hispanic immigrants become acculturated, their use of English is certain to grow along with demand for English-language media that cater to their needs.
This is already clearly evident among younger Hispanics. According to the research firm Cultural Access Group, Hispanics ages 14 to 24 prefer to use English over Spanish by a margin of 57 percent to 28 percent. This same demographic group overwhelmingly prefers English-language Internet sites, and by a margin of nearly two to one, they prefer English-language television and radio programming over Spanish-language fare.
Hispanics recognize the importance of English-language proficiency. For instance, in a survey by the Latino Coalition, a public policy organization, Hispanics who were asked to identify the greatest obstacle to success in the United States most often highlighted language.
"The portrait of the foreign-born and Spanish-dominant Hispanic who watches only Univision or Telemundo has not gone unchallenged," author Arlene Davila writes in the book Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. "Specifically, the dominance of Spanish as the defining element of the market has been challenged by radio and print, cheaper and more adaptable media."