Contexts for Bilingualism among U.S.-Born Latinos, 1990 and 2000

Tomas R Jimenez, University of California, San Diego
April Linton, University of California, San Diego

This paper focuses on bilingualism among Latino adults who were born in the US or are members of the ‘1.5 generation’. We ask: Under what contextual circumstances does bilingualism thrive among US-born and 1.5 generation Hispanics? While we acknowledge that Spanish retention across generations is in part a factor of individual- and household-level circumstances, our interest is in broader contexts because these reflect contemporary developments that could influence change in both the real and perceived value of bilingualism. Our analysis encompasses US metropolitan areas in 1990 and 2000, emphasizing dynamics of socio-cultural, demographic, economic, and political change. We explore the contextual circumstances under which bilingualism could become a stable and compatible aspect of being American – part of an additive process of immigrant adaptation that incorporates, rather than replaces, characteristics of the sending country. Data sources include the US Census and PUMS, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, and Latino business organizations.

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Presented in Session 63: Key Demographic Changes among the U.S. Latino Population