Spanish in the United States

The Spanish language (Idioma Español en Estados Unidos or Lengua Española en Estados Unidos) is the second most used language in the United States. There are more Spanish speakers in the United States than there are speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined. According to the 2010 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by almost 37 million people aged five or older, a figure more than double that of 1990.

There are 45 million Hispanophones who speak Spanish as a first or second language, as well as six million Spanish language students, composing the largest national Spanish-speaking community outside of Mexico. Roughly half of all U.S. Spanish speakers also speak English “very well”, based on the self-assessment Census question respondents.

The language first came to the New World as early as the 16th and 17th centuries with the arrival of Spanish colonists in areas that would later become the states of Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California. This was later reinforced by the acquisition of Puerto Rico in 1898 and by later waves of the Hispanic emigration from Mexico, Cuba, and Central and South America to the United States beginning in the second half of 19th century until today.



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