Multilingual Americans support English as official language

August 12, 2013, 7:16 PM GMT+0

Americans who regularly speak a language other than English want English to become the official language of the US.

Iowa Republican Steve King recently proposed a new law in the House of Representatives that would make English the official language of the United States and relieve federal agencies of their legal requirement to provide translations and interpreters for people who are using federal services but do not speak English. A similar law had been passed in 1996, but it never made it to the Senate, with many Senators viewing moves to make English an official language as counterproductive and largely symbolic.

The latest YouGov research shows, however, that the vast majority of the American public favor making English the official language of the United States, with 76% supporting English as an official language and only 15% opposing it becoming the official language. This even applies to people who regularly speak another language, of whom 72% support making English an official language. Furthermore, 79% of Hispanics also support this. It should be noted, however, that Americans who do not speak English were not included in the poll.

There is an interesting divide between different age groups, however, with young people being noticeably less positive about making English the official language than older age groups. Americans aged 18-29 have the highest opposition to the proposal, with 24% opposing it and 63% supporting it. Among Americans aged 45-64, 85% support English as an official language and only 10% oppose it.

When asked whether the government should be required to translate forms and documents for people who do not speak English, a majority of the American public opposed required translation except in one case - court proceedings, for which only 49% of people oppose translation. Even if this case, however, the 49% who opposed required translation is larger than the 39% who support required translation.

According to the latest figures from American Community Survey by the Census Bureau shows that an estimated 60.6 million Americans do not speak English as their primary language at home, with the largest number of these being Spanish-speaking households.

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

Join YouGov today! Your views can shape the news...