Only 20 percent of American children study more than one language

Spanish teacher in class

In Europe 92 percent of children study more than one language, while in some US states only 9 percent get foreign language courses.

Image: Bigstock

A survey revealed that only 20 percent of children in the US study a foreign language. Unlike countries such as France or Norway where 100% study more than one.

If the universal language is English, why learn a new one? It seems that the American educational system supports that statement. An investigation undertaken by the Pew Research Center compared the censuses of teaching foreign languages between European countries and the United States. The overall results show that 92 percent of students in Europe study more than one language, while in the US only 20 percent get foreign language courses.

According to the data, states such as New Jersey or Washington D.C. are above the national average of schools offering foreign language classes with 51 percent and 47 percent respectively. However, states such as Arkansas, Arizona, and New Mexico barely reach 9 percent.

Mastering more than one language opens doors to future employment opportunities, and prepares individuals to adapt to global environments. According to studies, learning languages at an early age boosts learning and develops the brain.

Foreign languages help recognize the existence of other cultures. It also promotes communication skills and stimulates the imagination.

It raises concerns that a multicultural country like the United States, with Latin American and Asian minorities growing exponentially, does not encourage multilingualism.