As the percentage of Hispanics who speak Spanish begin to decline and immigration slows, it begs the question among market researchers, “do I still need Spanish-dominant sample as part of my U.S. sample frames?”
Well as researchers, we can’t answer the questions until we investigate the numbers, right? So, let’s dive in, starting with the facts.
The United States is now the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking country after Mexico, according to a 2016 study published by Instituto Cervantes. In fact, of the roughly 60 million Hispanics living in the U.S., 41 million are Spanish dominant. Yet, while the population of Spanish-speakers in the U.S. has skyrocketed, overall, the percentage of Latinos speaking Spanish has declined. According to Pew Research, the number of Latinos who speak Spanish at home is trending up, but the share of Latinos who speak the language is decreasing.
But despite the decline, the U.S. is on track to become the biggest Spanish-speaking nation on Earth. According to the U.S. Census, the U.S. will reach an estimated 138 million Spanish speakers by 2050 putting the country in a class by itself. If the numbers hold up, Spanish will be the “mother tongue” of almost a third of its citizens.
U.S. births are the main driver of Hispanic population growth in the country today. The spike in U.S. born Latinos has led to a rise in English proficiency, which simply means that more kids of Hispanic descent born in the U.S. are speaking English instead of Spanish, and from a media standpoint, consuming more content in English.
Hispanics, however, are in no rush to abandon the Spanish language as it represents a link to their culture. Since many Spanish dominant Hispanics are first-generation immigrants, sharing the language of their native country with U.S. born children exposes younger generations to a country many have yet to see, creating a sense of identity.
For researchers providing insights to brands looking to forge meaningful connections with Hispanic consumers, the omission of Spanish dominant sample would essentially cut your clients out of the broader conversation going on within Hispanic homes and the implications would be seen in their bottom lines.
Including Spanish dominant sample in your U.S. sample frames rounds out your sample and creates a more accurate portrait of the multifaceted U.S. Hispanic consumer base. Not to mention the fact that the number of Spanish-speakers in the U.S. has risen by 6 million in less than ten years and that we are currently the world’s second largest-speaking Spanish country after Mexico. With her sights set on being the largest Spanish-speaking nation on earth by 2050, the U.S. is embracing Spanish dominant Hispanics. It’s researchers who need to catch up!