Pew Hispanic has released a recent study which explains much of the rationale behind Univision's efforts to increase its digital and English-language programming footprints. The study further clarifies the dynamics that underlie the network's approach to the coverage of certain issues on its news programming.
The Los Angeles Times featured an extensive writeup on the Pew study, which indicates that the number of Spanish-language dominant Hispanic households is in decline.
A new Pew Research study released this week found that in 2014, an estimated 37% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 grew up in households where only English was spoken. That's up from 30% in 2000.
Overall English proficiency is on the rise and a declining share of Latinos of all ages are speaking Spanish at home, the study found.
The findings reflect the significant decline in immigration from Latin America in recent years, which has reduced the number of first-generation families. It also shows that Latinos are repeating a well-traveled path of assimilation embraced by other immigrant groups such as Italians and Germans.
It is interesting that whereas the L.A. Times' article focuses on the human and generational components of the story, Univision's coverage of the study tends to be straight-up and more clinically into the data components. However, there is one point that really jumped out:
Some 88% of Latinos ages 5 to 17 said they either speak only English at home or speak English “very well,” up from 73% in 2000, the report found. Among millennial Latinos, aged 18 to 33, 76% said they speak only English at home or speak English very (sic), up from 59% during the same time period.
This trend is at the heart of why Fusion was initially created. As the number of English-dominant Hispanic households rises, Univision recognized a need to retain those eyeballs. Fusion's mixed result has forced the network to scramble, first by repurposing Fusion, and then by acquiring other digital properties such as The Onion and The Root among others. The trend also explains why Univision has gone all-in on immigration.
For a little over a year, I've been hammering home the point that Univision (and, by extension, our domestic Spanish-language media) is little more than another special interest that stands to gain from continued liberalization and/or non-enforcement of our existing immigration policy. Readers of this byline should be intimately familiar with this video, in which Univision anchor Jorge Ramos goes to Harvard and admits as much:
Now there is hard Pew data to back that up.