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- At the end of the 19th century, 60 million people spoke Spanish. Today, almost 500 million people worldwide speak Spanish.
- Spanish is the main official language of about 400 million people in 21 countries (Mexico: 98 million, Spain: 39 million, USA: 39 million, Argentina: 35 million, Colombia: 36 million, Venezuela: 22 million, Peru: 20 million)
- 13% of the United States population speaks Spanish as the first language
- In the United States and Canada, Spanish is the most popular foreign language to learn.
Spanish as an Economic Force
- Latin America countries are showing strong economic growth, making them potentially major trading partners.
- A number of large Latin-American countries have signed the NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), set up by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
- The newly created MERCOSUR, along with the existing free trade agreements between Hispanic countries and North America (ALADI, the Andean Community, CACM, NAFTA, G3), aims to improve the economy of these countries by making them more efficient and competitive.
Spanish and its impact in the United States
- The Hispanic population in the USA has grown by 60 percent in just one decade. The 39 million Hispanics currently living in the USA make up 13 percent of the total population.
- The United States is the world’s sixth largest Spanish-speaking country.
- Los Angeles is the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking city (only after Mexico City!)
- As a result, there are many employment opportunities for people who speak Spanish and English fluently. These opportunities span many fields, such as business, law, education, translation, diplomacy, social services, and medicine.
- This population growth has also increased demand for Spanish language media, such as radio, television, newspapers, and magazines.
Spanish and Latin American Culture
- Latin culture has had a global influence on architecture, art, literature, music, movies. Who hasn’t heard of Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes, the second most translated book in the world after the Bible? Or that the most expensive painting ever sold is a Picasso? Or heard songs by Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias, Gloria Estefan, and Celiz Cruz? Or seen actors such as Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz in American movies?
Knowledge of the Spanish language can also go a long way when traveling to Spain, Mexico, or any number of places around the world.
Check out the full list of the course requirements for a degree in Spanish.