Turns out speaking, writing and reading in Spanish and English can be very beneficial throughout one’s life. In fact, bilingualism can have significant impacts upon an individual’s career, education, income and social circles.
According to a report released by the nonprofit testing organization, the Education Testing Service and the University of California Los Angeles, children of immigrants who can speak, read and write a second language in addition to English — known as balanced bilinguals — are more likely to earn more money than those who only speak English.
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Additionally, balanced bilinguals are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, enter higher status occupations and have larger social networks.
They also found that individuals who weren’t able to retain a language other than English spoken at home make about $2,000 to $5,000 less every year than those who know both languages.
“Being able to speak another language and being able to communicate with folks across cultural borders turns out to be very important in our modern world,” said Patricia Gándara, the report’s author, according to NBC Latino. “The fact that these Spanish-speaking bilinguals, biliterates, go to four-year-colleges at higher rates has tremendously important policy implications.”
Gándara added that, thus far, much attention has been placed on immigrant learning English, but not much emphasis has been placed on retaining their original languages. “It’s true that it’s important to speak English,” she said. “But maintaining immigrant languages gives them an extra leg up.”