According to new information released by the US Census Bureau, 74 percent of all households in El Paso, TX, speak Spanish as their primary language at home, even if they're fluent in English. That number is coupled with the fact that one out of every five residents of Texas, Arizona, California, and New Mexico speak Spanish at home too.
One home-Spanish-speaker says, "Spanish was my first language and it's the language that my parents speak, so I just use it when I'm there. I don't even think about it. And although I speak English, I sometimes feel more comfortable speaking Spanish. It's like going back home."
The high at-home use of the language prompts changes in the local culture and government. Most agencies and stores publish notices in both English and Spanish. One spokeswoman for the county of El Paso said it makes sense to write news releases and public notices in both languages. "Our goal is for our message to reach the intended audience as quickly as possible," she said. "If we were to send out notices in English only, the message will eventually get to Spanish-speaking families but it will take some time."