Spanish language in the United States
The Spanish language is the second most spoken language in the United States. There are 45 million Hispanophones who speak Spanish as a first or second language in the United States, as well as six million Spanish language students. Together, this makes the United States of America the second largest Hispanophone country in the world after Mexico, and with the United States having more Spanish speakers than Spain (but fewer first language speakers). Spanish is the Romance language and the Indo-European language with the largest number of native speakers in the world. Roughly half of all American Spanish speakers also speak English ""very well,"" based on their self-assessment in the U.S. Census.There are more Spanish speakers in the United States than there are speakers of Chinese, French, German, Italian, Hawaiian, and the Native American languages combined. According to the 2012 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by 38.3 million people aged five or older, a figure more than double that of 1990.The Spanish language has been present in what is now the United States since the 16th and 17th centuries, with the arrival of Spanish colonists in areas of the Spanish Empire in North America that would later become the states of Florida, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and California. The Spanish explorers explored areas of 42 future U.S. states leaving behind a varying range of Hispanic legacy in the North American continent. Additionally, western regions of the Louisiana Territory were under Spanish rule between 1763 to 1800, after the French and Indian War, further extending the Spanish influence throughout modern-day United States of America.After the incorporation of these states to the United States in the first half of the 19th century, the Spanish language was later reinforced in the country by the acquisition of Puerto Rico in 1898. Later waves of emigration from Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador and elsewhere in Hispanic America to the United States beginning in the second half of the 19th century to the present-day have strengthened the role of the Spanish language in the country. Today, Hispanics are one of the fastest growing demographics in the United States, thus increasing the use and importance of American Spanish in the United States.