Pew Reports on Latino Language Use, Education Trends

In the latest trends reported by the Pew Research Center, the share of Latinos who speak Spanish at home declined over the past decade as the high-school dropout rate within the demographic continues its decline to a new all-time low. The trends reflect fundamental cultural shifts among U.S. Hispanics.

Where language is concerned, the number of Hispanic immigrant families who speak Spanish at home has actually risen over the last decade. Pew estimates the number of Latinos living the U.S. who speak Spanish within their household at more than 37 million. While this number has only grown over the last decade, Pew reports this uptick centers on the growth of the Hispanic population overall. The rate of Spanish use in the home, according to the organization, actually fell over the past decade when looking at the numbers from a percentage perspective. In 2006, for instance, the U.S. Census Bureau reports 78 percent of Hispanic families used Spanish in the home. This compares to a drop to 73 percent of Hispanic families using Spanish in the home in 2015.

The overall decline in Spanish use at home among Latinos extends to all 25 metropolitan areas in the country with the largest Latino populations. Still, 57 percent of the Spanish-speaking Latinos in the U.S. populated in only 3 states– California, Texas and Florida.

On the education front, Pew reports a continuing success story for U.S. Hispanics as the high school dropout rate within the demographic has reached a new low to extend the decades-long decline. Accompanying the decline in the high school dropout rate is the long-term increase in college enrollment, which reached an all-time high.

According to Pew’s Hispanic education report, the dropout rate among Hispanics in 2016 came in at a rate of 10 percent. In real numbers, this translates to 648,000 Hispanics aged 18 to 24 who didn’t complete high school and who weren’t enrolled in school. In 2011, the dropout rate tallied at 16 percent.

In 1999, the Census Bureau began reporting on education rates with race and ethnic metrics. Compared to then, the high school dropout rate among Hispanics has declined by 24 percentage points.

“The decline in the Hispanic dropout rate is particularly noteworthy given the large increase in Hispanic enrollment in U.S. public and private schools,” according to the Pew report. “Between 1999 and 2016, the number of Hispanics enrolled in public and private nursery schools, K-12 schools and colleges increased 80 percent from 9.9 million to 17.9 million.”

Hispanic education improvement is also demonstrated in the statistic that 47 percent of Hispanic high school graduates aged between 18 and 24 were enrolled in college. In 1999, only 32 percent of the group was enrolled in college.

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