Spanish in the United States totals 57 million speakers and the Hispanic community in the country already accounts for 18.7% of the total population. Spanish has increasingly widespread use among congressmen and senators, according to the latest report from The Hispanic Council think tank.
“The Hispanic community, at the political level, is the most decisive minority group in the configuration of the vote and in the electoral results,” explained Pablo García Bautista, in charge of the elaboration of the report, during its presentation today in Madrid.
For this reason, in recent years Spanish has been gaining a place in American politics, to such an extent that congressmen and senators incorporate it in their communication with the electorate.
“We have to look at Spanish in a broader way since there are more than 492 million people in the world who speak it,” said Daniel Ureña, president of The Hispanic Council, an independent think tank whose mission is to disseminate the Hispanic cultural heritage of the United States.
The Hispanic Council uses two criteria to see whether a politician uses Spanish in his digital communication: if he has his web page in Spanish or if he uses it in his social networks during the electoral debate period. Following these criteria, it is estimated that 74 congressmen in the House of Representatives use Spanish, more than 16% of the total, with a growth of 21% compared to 2018.
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Spanish also has a presence in the Senate: 28% of senators use it in their digital communication, especially within the Democratic Party, to which 22 of the 28 Spanish-speaking senators belong.
Bautista stressed that “the use of Spanish transcends the Hispanic representatives in Congress.” Of the 74 Spanish-speaking members of Congress, 41 are of Hispanic origin, and of the 28 senators, only six are Hispanic.
The growth of Spanish
The former Spanish ambassador to the United States, Javier Rupérez, assured that there is an “evident bilingualism” in the United States, so that “one without knowing English could find a way to make a living in Spanish.”
However, Rupérez considered that although the use of Spanish is on the rise, its use must be encouraged “at all levels”, an opinion shared by Áurea Moltó, director of the specialized magazine Política Exterior, who considered that there is a lack of research in Spanish despite the fact that “there is an interest in learning about what is happening in the world in Spanish.”
Cristina Gallach, Spanish special commissioner for the Alliance for the New Language Economy, expressed the need to create projects that generate interest in using Spanish. “This is the leap we have to make and we must do it together with the Hispanic American countries,” she said.