Hispanic members of Generation Z are clear: they prefer to speak Spanglish most of the time. That was the sentiment expressed by approximately 20% of young people who belong to this group, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the marketing agency Chemistry Cultura.
The reasons for the change are mainly due to the transmission of Hispanic heritage from their parents and members of other generations. These teachings have made Latin Americans increasingly proud of their origins and they increasingly want to speak Spanish, or some version of it, or even add accents to their names. Illan Stavans, professor at Amherst College and author of "Spanglish: The Making Of A New American Language," told Axios that Generation Z is embracing "this lengua mestiza with gusto." He continued, "Spanglish está más vivo que nunca [Spanglish is more alive than ever]," he said.
Ramiro Cavazos, president and CEO of the chamber, agrees. He says he notices more passion for Hispanic heritage in Generation Z than, for example, in his own generation: "The younger population is more driven by their passion in life than perhaps my generation."
Spanglish is not so successful in previous generations
However, even though it is the knowledge of ancestors that motivates Generation Z to want to speak Spanglish, these older age groups are not as likely to speak Spanglish. Only 15% of millennials, 10% of Gen Xers and 5% of boomers said they felt more comfortable speaking Spanglish most of the time.
Consuming content in Spanish is also more fashionable than in the past. Across the 1,400 Hispanics surveyed, all belonging to different generations, 30% of respondents said they watch at least some Spanish-language television or Hispanic products on streaming platforms on a weekly basis.
A similar percentage, 32%, said they listen to Hispanic music thanks to the proliferation of artists such as Bad Bunny, Peso Pluma and Karol G who either sing in Spanish or Spanglish, helping to make these two languages more widely consumed by the Latin American population. This, says Chemistry Cultura President Mike Valdes-Fauli, demonstrates the power of Hispanics who are "spreading the love, the cultura and everything we stand for, to the broader general population."