Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do you think your kid should speak Spanish? No? Think again.

Throughout the past year I have been writing about the reasons why I am teaching my kids to speak Spanish. Some of my reasons are personal and very sentimental, like the need to keep my culture alive and to allow them to be able to speak to my mother and the rest of my family. Some are more logical like the fact that bilingual kids develop skills that make them smarter, and some are just so huge to ignore like the ones I will describe in this post. I am a true believer that speaking Spanish will be one of the biggest skills or even asset that they will have in the future. A recent trip to Miami confirmed it to me. 

Let me start with some statistics that may be shocking to some but that are the true reality of the USA of today. According to the 2012 census, there are approximately 50MM Latinos in the US. At around 16% of the population, Latinos account for the largest minority in the States. However, when we start segmenting our population by ages, you will soon realize that 1 in 5 kids under 18 years old in the US are Latino and 1 in 4 or 25% of all kids born in the US are from Hispanic origin. 

The Latino population in the US is expected to grow 167% from 2010 to 2050, compared to only 42% growth for the total population during the same period. So by 2050 when my kids generation will be in their 40's Spanish will be key to living and working in the USA.

Currently, it is already a huge asset in some high Hispanic areas of the country like LA and Miami. Let's talk about Miami for a second. Miami has a population of approximately 4.3MM people, and about 47% of inhabitants are Latino. Already Spanish is more than a second language, it is omnipresent in this society. I have spent this past week in the beautiful sun shining city. From the moment I landed at Miami International Airport, collected my suitcase, waited for some friends, went to lunch with them and finally arrived at my hotel, I probably did not have to speak one word in English, not one. Not only that, I think I probably only heard a handful of English words throughout the expand of 6 hours. It was to be honest a bit surreal. It felt like I have left the US and arrived in a multi nationality Latino American country. Personally, I Ioved it but kept wondering what it must be like for a non Spanish speaker.

I do not honestly think Spanish will replace English in the US nor I think it is right either, but I can see a society that may be bilingual in the future just like Canada or Switzerland. That is why I do not want my kids to be behind. That is why I invest  my time teaching them Spanish. That is why I send them to Language Stars once a week so they can learn this beautiful language that is becoming more and more indispensable in the US.

Disclosure: I will receive discounted tuition from Language Stars as compensation for this post. However all facts and opinions expressed in this post are true and my own. Language Stars have not asked me to write about anything in particular, only my true and honest opinion about my experience with their program.  This post have not been edited by a third person.

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