U.S. Will Be Biggest Spanish-Speaking Country by 2050, Says Scholar

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By 2050, 10 percent of the world population will speak Spanish and the United States will be the biggest Spanish-speaking country, the general secretary of the Association of Spanish Language Academies said Monday.

Cuban writer and academic Humberto López Morales made this prediction during his speech when he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Valencia at a ceremony presided over by Spanish Education Minister Angel Gabilondo.

He noted that the current situation of Hispanics in the United States is the result of a confluence of historical processes headed by Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century, followed by Puerto Rico, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and, more recently, Venezuela and Argentina.

"Besieged by poverty and by the barriers that impeded access to decent salaries, a minimally acceptable home, basic conditions of health or the education of their children," he said, the citizens of those countries emigrated to the "promised land."

"Knowing Spanish is ... among other things, a business," and in some states, like Florida, "Spanish is a good passport for obtaining a job," he said.

According to another study cited by López Morales, "every minute that goes by, 2.5 Hispanics enter the stream of immigrants to the country, that is to say, 3,700 per day."

If the forecast is born out, the United States by 2050 will become the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world and Spanish will be the second-most-spoken language on the planet, surpassed only by Chinese.

"If the course does not change, it's very possible that within three or four generations 10 percent of the world population will understand Spanish. Let us hope so!" he concluded.