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Nearly half of Republicans are bothered by hearing foreign language



The US is rapidly becoming more diverse, and many Americans have mixed feelings about it — especially across partisan lines.

Nearly half of Republican voters said it bothers them to hear people speak a language other than English in public, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

The poll found that 20% of Republican voters said it bothers them “a lot” to hear a foreign language in public and 27% said it bothers them “some.”

Comparatively, an overwhelming majority of Democrats (82%) are not particularly bothered by hearing a foreign language in public, according to the poll.

Read more: Here’s how many people in each state speak a language other than English at home

When broken down by race, the poll found 34% of white people said it would bother them at least some to hear a foreign language spoken publicly, compared to 25% of black people, 24% of Asian people, and 13% of Hispanic people.

Overall, the poll found most Americans (70%) would not be especially bothered by hearing people speak a language other than English in a public place. Nearly half (47%) said it wouldn’t bother them at all.

Though English is the most commonly spoken language across the country, the US has no official language. The Census Bureau has found that at least 350 languages are spoken in US homes. In New York City, for example, 38% of the metro area population 5-years-old and older speak a language other than English at home, and nearly 200 different languages are spoken.

But foreign language skills aren’t heavily prioritized in the US, with only 20% of K-12 students learning a foreign language in school, according to an August 2018 report from Pew.

Read more: United States is on the way to becoming a non-white majority by 2045

Beyond the issue of foreign languages, Pew’s recent poll also found over half of Americans say the fact the US population is comprised of many different races and ethnicities is a very good thing for the country, including 55% of white people, 59% of black people, and 60% of Hispanic people.

But feelings on this were more split across partisan lines. While 71% of Democrats say it’s a “very good” thing the US population is so diverse, less than half of Republicans (39%) say the same thing.

According to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, the US population is roughly 60% white, 13% black, 18% Hispanic or Latino, 6% Asian, and a little over 1% American Indian or Alaska Native.

The US is projected to be majority non-white by 2045, and as early as next year the entire under 18 population will be majority non-white, according to William Frey, a Brookings Institution demographer.

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