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A recent media controversy raised the issue of whether Spanish-speaking residents assimilate into U.S. society by learning to speak English. Studies have shown that language proficiency is a key driver of immigrant integration. It increases job opportunities and facilitates social and political participation. However, despite its vital importance, many immigrants never reach adequate proficiency in the host country language. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) includes questions about what language is spoken at home and, for persons who speak another language, how well the person speaks English. In 2017, the ACS estimates that 69.6 million U.S. residents do not use English as the principal language spoken at home. About 41 million use Spanish and 25.5 million use another language.
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Focus on Facts provides brief, thought-provoking information about urban policy issues based on research conducted at the Levin College. Our purpose is to stimulate additional discussion and debate. The series includes a “Map of the Month” as well as other formats. Questions or comments about specific topics can be addressed via email to the author(s). Questions or comments about the series of publications can be addressed to the Focus on Facts editor, Associate Dean Bob Gleeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.