Spanish Maintenance and Loss in the U.S. Southwest
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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In a census-related study on language maintenance among the Hispanic/Latino population in the southwest United States, Hudson, Hernández-Chávez and Bills (1995) stated that, given negative correlations between language maintenance and years of education and per capita income, “educational and economic success in the Spanish origin population are purchased at the expense of Spanish language maintenance in the home” (1995: 179). While census figures from 1980 make this statement undeniable for the Southwest, the recent growth of the Spanish-language population in the United States, which has grown by a factor of ~2.5 over the last twenty years, begs a reexamination of these correlations. A recent study on the state of Colorado (McCullough & Jenkins 2005) found a correlational weakening, especially with regard to the relationship between language maintenance and median income.
 The current study follows the model set forth by Hudson et al. (1995) in examining the interrelationship between the measures of count, density, language loyalty and retention based on 2000 census data, as well as the relationship between these metrics and socioeconomic and demographic variables, including income and education. While some relationships existed in 2000 much in the same way that they did in the 1980 data, especially with regard to count and density, the measures of loyalty and retention saw marked reductions in their correlations with social variables.


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