The Importance of Spanish in the US Market

Idea TranslationsTranslationsThe Importance of Spanish in the US Market

Reasons and Opportunities for Expansion

Companies, organizations and educational institutions in the US are increasingly seeking to translate their material into Spanish. They know that Spanish speakers are a large part of the population and they know that having English-only material means ignoring a large market share.

Let’s take a look at the data that highlights the significance of this language in the US and take a look at some aspects to consider when dealing with content in both languages.

1- Bilingual Education and Current Challenges

According to estimations by the U.S. Census Bureau, the local Hispanic population exceeds 62,3 million people. This means almost 12 million more than in 2010 and above 53 million more with respect to 1970.

In this population, young Hispanic students often face obstacles in their education, particularly when it relates to language. According to USA Today, 33% of English-challenged students were unable to obtain their high school degree in the regular four years.

After English, Spanish is the most widely used language in the US, way more than any other language. More than 41 million people above the age of 5 speak Spanish in their homes, which accounts for 13.5% of the total population. The second most spoken language, Chinese, is used by barely 2 million people.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Part of the solution will come from bilingual educational curricula; in the long term, this is the best tool to include Spanish-speaking students into the system. However, these initiatives are also crucial for adults: Spanish is gaining ground as a foreign language and is the most chosen language in all educational levels in the US, according to Instituto Cervantes.

Around 3,8 million students in US schools speak Spanish as their native language and have difficulties performing in English.

Source: USA Today

2- Translations are the Key to a Multicultural Economy

In spite of the social and economic inequalities that are pervasive for marginalized groups in the US, in recent years their buying power has grown. According to the latest Multicultural Economy Report by the University of Georgia, the Hispanic population in the United States has a buying power of 1.5 trillion dollars and is the largest minority market in America.

In the last two decades, the buying power of Hispanics has grown more than 200%.

Source: University of Georgia

In this context, service and consumer goods companies are increasingly attracted to this market, and companies with a clear strategy to capture it —through content translation and adaptation into Spanish— are better positioned to succeed than those with no action plan in place. In fact, a survey carried out by Common Sense Advisory revealed that 40% of consumers would not buy a product online if the description is not available in their native language.

3- Culture as a Communication Channel

Hispanic culture shows a strong penetration in the American population: since 2016 the Latin music market (supported by urban artists in the genres of reggaeton and trap) has been growing consistently with two-figure increases every year. In 2020, it reached a market value of $296.1 million.

In the last four years, the Latin music business grew almost 60% in America.

Source: Recording Industry Association of America

Therefore, more Latin artists and execs are showing a renewed interest in creating bilingual content, and many Americans are starting to see Spanish as more than a passing fad.

Sports also play a crucial role: Hispanics accounted for 26% of the US Major League Baseball, according to the data on Deportes Inc.

There are many examples of how Spanish speakers have gained ground in the US, and how their culture has been influential for the creation of products, services and content.

Source: Pew Research Center

Los hispanos representaron más de la mitad del crecimiento total de la población de EE.UU. de 2010 a 2019 Hispanics accounted for more than half of total US population growth in the period 2010-2019.
Población 2019 Population on 2019
Cambio 2010-19 Change 2010-19
Participación del aumento
Hispanos Hispanics
Asiáticos Asians

4- Future Growth

According to Instituto Cervantes data, the number of Hispanics living in the United States will be above 111 million by 2060, which represents 27.5% of the population, or 1 in 3 Americans. It is also estimated that 119 million people will be speakers of Spanish as their native language, which would make the US the second country with the largest Spanish-speaking population, after Mexico.

In the next decades, more than 25% of the US population will be Hispanic in origin. Source: Instituto Cervantes

Statistics evidence how important Spanish is in the US market, and companies, organizations and learning centers that adapt to linguistic multiculturalism will reach a larger, more diverse and multicultural market. These are all features that the younger generations seek when they purchase a product or service.

When expanding the market beyond our own borders, it is also crucial to think of our proximity with Latin America. Currently, only a small fraction of the population can afford a bilingual education, and Spanish remains key for companies looking to grow beyond linguistic barriers. The key is to reach every person in their native language.

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