Friday, March 25, 2011

U.S. Demographic and Linguistic Shifts

The Hispanic population of the U.S. has grown by 43%, from 2000-2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported yesterday. Hispanics have largely (but not single-handedly, if you also note the population growth of Asians in the U.S. over the last decade) driven U.S. population growth between the last two censuses.

Hispanics have also, of course, dramatically shifted the linguistic landscape of America. Though Americans have no official language, and though we nonetheless treat English as unofficially official, on my 1) cell phone, 2) baby car seat manual, and 3) can of Pringles, to pick three non-representative items that simply happen to be on hand, Spanish is also becoming unofficially official. Fortunately, though my cell phone does not, my iPod has a French display option (so I listen to "Musique" rather than "Música"). Should I get an iPhone?

I am happy (and fortunate) to say that my wife has contributed in a small way to this demographic/linguistic shift, as she came to the U.S. from México for university and then married me in 2006 and decided to stay. She even became a U.S. citizen last month. I am very confused, however, about our 17-month-old son. He is a U.S. citizen by birth of course, but is he Hispanic? Caucasian/White? Half-and-half? This whole ethnicity/race thing gets me every time.


  1. Your son's race? The human race, of course!

  2. Aha! I knew there was an easy answer.

    The main thing that threw me for a loop was filling out the census questionnaire last year. For Miriam, for example, it said NOT to list Hispanic/Latino as her "race," so I was at a bit of a loss. Oh well, I guess they have to categorize census results somehow.

  3. I think I actually put "human" for my race on the census form.

  4. Good idea! I will have to remember that for 2020.