English is the most commonly spoken language in the United States. Whereas the second most commonly spoken language in the United States is Spanish. The Spanish population is greater than any other non-English speaking population such as Chinese, Japanese, or even French. With Mexico bordering the southwest United States, there are many Hispanics migrating into the United States. Mexico has been and still is the largest contributor to the immigrants in the United States. Not only do these Hispanics come from Mexico, but many also travel from South America. Why are these Mexican-Americans moving into the five southwestern states: California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas, and will they eventually take over the population and language?
When you think about the primary language of any state in the U.S. the first thought to come to mind is English. With so many Spanish speaking people migrating to the United States this may eventually change. The population in not only the southwestern states, but also the northeastern U.S. and Florida is gradually becoming more Hispanic as time goes on. In the past few years the Spanish speaking population has grown more than ever. With the immigrant population growing so much, there are more immigrants coming into the United States than Americans being born. This will in time become a problem for these states that have high immigrant movement because the Hispanics are going to overpopulate these states. Of all Hispanics in the United States, the Mexican-Americans make up the largest portion. Many Hispanics are not only using Spanish as a family language, but they are also using it as a public language. Many people do not realize how, too much Hispanic migration will result in Americans becoming over populated, and may eventually cause change in the United States. As time goes on, the southwestern United States is in danger of maybe one day having a primary Spanish language, and the English language will be taken over. The language everyone in America has been familiar with for centuries may be replaced with Spanish.
Immigration from the Hispanic population is not something that has just showed up in recent years; it has been a situation for the past centuries. Throughout the United States, the southwest has the largest Hispanic population. The southwest United States consist of California New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Texas. Being that the southwestern states border Mexico, most of the Hispanic population migrating into southwest United States comes from Mexico. De Gruyer mentions in his book,Spanish in the United States, “The first large-scale influx of Spanish speakers from outside the modern United States occurred at the beginning of the 20th century” (2). De Gruyer’s claim on how Mexican-Americans migrating into the United States largely increased around early 20th century is true, but what he doesn’t mention and Villa and Mills do mention in Spanish in Context, the Spanish moving north nearly started around the 17th century (28). The “large scale influx” of Mexican-Americans mentioned by Gruyer resulted from the tragedy of the Mexican Revolution, which was the war between Mexico and United States (Villa28). A few years after this war is when the Hispanic population in southwestern Unites States rapidly increased. There are many factors that play a huge role in the immigration. The overpopulation as well as poverty in Mexico are serious causes which have helped increase the number of Hispanics migrating into the United States (De Gruyer 3). In more recent years, not only are poverty and overpopulation why Hispanics are migrating into the U.S. , but also education and the work force in the United States are major causes pulling Mexican-Americans into the southwest.
As time goes on the Hispanic population in the United States is rapidly increasing. The United States Census Bureau compares the Hispanic population over many years. In the recent Census, they give information regarding the Hispanic population in the years 2000 to 2010. In 2000, there were approximately 35 million Hispanic or Latino people in the United States. This is about 12% of the total population (Ennis 2). To compare the results from 2000 to 2010, they again did the study and gather the data in 2010. The results in 2010 as expected, increased and there were about 50 million Hispanic or Latinos which is about 16% of the total U.S. population (Ennis 2). As the population of Hispanics outside of the United States keeps increasing the population of Hispanics within the United States is also continuously increasing. The population of the Mexican-Americans is greater than any other Hispanic or Latino population in the United States. Within the United States, more than half of the total Hispanic population is Mexican-Americans (Ennis 2). When Mexican-Americans migrate into the United States, the easiest way is for them to travel north from Mexico into southwest United States. Therefore, southwest United States has the largest Hispanic population throughout the U.S. Also clarifying the results Villa mentions data from the census which, “indicate[s] that in the Southwest the majority of this population is of Mexican origin, but that pockets of speakers from Central and South America and the Caribbean exist as well” (28). The largest Hispanic population does come from Mexico, but are not all Mexican-Americans. In the book, PS: Political Science and Politics, Peralta and George mention between 2009 and 2010 the Latino population in every nontraditional southern state grew more than 50%. Latinos are the diverse group including U.S. born and immigrants with origins in Latin America. Over 172 southern counties have more than 20% Latino population, Texas having the highest (553).
The Hispanics who speak Spanish in southwestern United States have been around long before the states were part of the United States, but Spanish was considered to be more of a private language. Research on Spanish being spoken in the United States keeps growing as a result of the Mexican-American population increasing. Some of the first studies on Spanish started with Mexican-American Spanish in the Southwest. Spanish was first spoken in the United States in 1530, but was not a huge problem (Gruyer 1-5). After the Mexican revolution, they had a large amount of Spanish immigrants migrating into the southwest. Around this time while the Spanish population might have been becoming a problem, the Spanish language was not so public and was not as much of a problem. The Hispanics kept Spanish more of a private language rather than a public. The Hispanics did not talk to people outside of their family in Spanish, it was just a family language. Hudson, Bills, and Chavez examine the language maintenance and shift of the Spanish language claiming communities of southwestern U.S. They mention how “The counties with the greatest numbers of Spanish home language claimants are to be found in central and southern California, across the southern border counties of Arizona, in two large concentrations in southeastern and northcentral New Mexico, and in scattered areas of Colorado and Texas” (Hudson 169). In 1980, they realized more Spanish people claimed to speak Spanish in their homes, but were starting to communicate with others outside of their family.
As time goes on and the Hispanic population is continuously increasing, the Spanish language is becoming more of a public language. Even though many Hispanics may know English, they are going to be more comfortable speaking their original language, Spanish. “Spanish speakers who were non-Hispanic White, Black, or Asian were more likely to speak English “very well” compared with those who were Hispanic (Ryan 8). In 2011, the United States Census completed studies and asked foreign-born people three simple questions. The questions were too see how well they spoke English, if they spoke it at all. As the people from the United States Census predict “the number of Spanish speakers is projected to be 36.9 million in 2010 and increase to 43.1 million in 2020” (Ortman & Shin 9). Since the Hispanic population is predicted to continue to increase, these Hispanics are able to have more and more conversations in Spanish. English for the Hispanics is becoming slim because there’re so many more Spanish speakers to communicate with than in the past. Spanish, when compared to other non-English languages such as, Chinese, French, or Japanese is not considered to be an immigrant language because it is used so much in the U.S. (Villa 28).
While southwestern United States has the largest Hispanic immigration throughout the country, there are a few other states that also have been impacted by Hispanic immigration. While the southwestern states suffer with Mexican-Americans, the northeastern states such as New York have Hispanic population of mostly Puerto Ricans. Others States have more Cubans and Hispanics from El Salvador (Garland 15). Many of the Hispanics on the eastern side of the United States spread out over many states and counties within states.
Many researchers may have evidence and predict the population in the southwestern United States to be the largest Hispanic population across the United States, but others may have found the eastern states have more Hispanics. Larkin and Peralta state in PS: Political Science and Politics, “Although the Latino population has increased significantly over the past three decades the proportion of Latinos living in southern states remains relatively low in comparison to the States general population, particularly in nontraditional Latino destination states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia” (559). They have gathered information which result in these states having higher Hispanic or Latino population than the southwestern states. Spanish in these states are concentrated in the homes. These states may be growing in Hispanic population, but have not affected the population or language of the United States.
Many people in the United States speak languages other than English even though English is the primary language. Of these non-English languages, Spanish is the most commonly spoken. As a result of the Mexican Revolution, the largest immigrant group comes from Mexico. Since Mexico is the largest contributor to the Hispanic immigrants, the southwestern United States has had a major increase of the Mexican-American population as well as the Spanish language. Since the population in Mexico is continuously increasing the immigration is also steady increasing. While Mexico is the largest contributor to the immigrants in the southwest there are also non-Mexicans coming from Mexico as well. The population in southwestern United States is predicted to continue to increase and will have major numbers in 2020. These Hispanics are having more conversations using Spanish as a public language. Southwestern United States may eventually have a primary language of Spanish because of the overpopulation of Hispanics. There is not enough evidence gathered or research done to tell if there will be a language shift in the next few years, but with the information gathered it is sure to come.
Bills, Garland D. “The US Census Of 1980 And Spanish In The Southwest.” International Journal Of The Sociology Of Language. n.p., n.d. 11-28. Web. 06 Febuary 2016
Ennis, Sharon and Albert, Nora. “The Hispanic Population: 2010.” United States Census Bureau. May 2011. n.p., n.d. 1-5. Web. 27 Febuary 2016
Gruyter, Mouton. “Introduction.” Spanish in the United States. Ed. Ana Roca & John Lipski. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1993. 1-5. Web. 27 January 2016
Hudson, Alan, and Chavez, Eduardo, and Bills, Garland. “The many Faces of Language Maintenance: Spanish Language Claiming in Five Southwestern States.” Spanish in Four Continents. Ed. Carmen Silva-Corvalan. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1995. 165-182. Web. 06 Febuary 2016
Ortman, Jennifer and Shin, Hyon. “Language Projections: 2010 to 2020.” United States Census Bureau. August 2011. n.p., n.d. 9. Web. 04 March 2016.
Peralta, J. Salvador, and George R. Larkin. “Counting Those Who Count: The Impact of Latino Population Growth on Redistricting in Southern States”. PS: Political Science and Politics 44.3 (2011): 552–561. Web. 09 Febuary 2016
Ryan, Camille. “Language Use in the United States: 2011.” United States Census Bureau. August 2013. n.p., n.d. 8. Web. 03 March 2016.
Villa, Daniel J., and Susana V. Rivera-Mills. “An Integrated Multi-Generational Model For Language Maintenance And Shift: The Case Of Spanish In The Southwest.”Spanish In Context 6.1 (2009): 26-42. Fuente Académica. Web. 15 Feb. 2016.