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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Is Spanish Here to Stay? Contexts for bilingualism among U.S.-born Hispanics, 1990-2000

  • Author(s): Linton, April
  • et al.

This analysis uses data from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses to explore individual and contextual factors that influence U.S.-born Hispanic adults to maintain Spanish alongside English. Cuban of Puerto Rican ancestry, living with a Spanish-dominant person, having children in one’s household, and working in a service- or health-related job all increase the odds of bilingualism. Contextual incentives – growth in a state’s Hispanic population, bilinguals’ status, and Hispanics’ political influence – also positively influence the odds of bilingualism. By showing a positive relationship between upward mobility, political participation, and bilingualism, my findings suggest that it is possible for Hispanics in the U.S. to maintain selected characteristics of their origin culture while becoming American.

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