Lexington Institute Study

STUDY: Lacking English Ability Costs Workers $37 Billion

The Value of English Proficiency to the United States Economy
Published by The Lexington Institute


In December of 2012, The Lexington Institute released a major study which accessed the financial costs associated with a failure to learn English in the United States of America. The major findings and conclusions are based on the most recent 2010 Census data and are stated below:


Major Findings

* $37.7 billion in annual earnings are missed by Spanish-speaking English learners.

* Each Spanish-speaking adult English learner lost about $3,000 per year in earnings, due to inadequate English skills.

* There are more than 25 million English learners currently living in the United States.

* There are 16.5 million Spanish-speaking English learners  in the United States.

* There are currently 14.2 million individuals living in linguistically-isolated households (defined as a household in which all members 14 years of age and older have at least some difficulty with English) in the United States.

* 42 percent of adult Spanish-speaking English Language Learners (ELLs) failed to graduate from high school, compared to 11 percent of non Spanish-speaking ELLs.

* Nearly half of first generation Spanish-speaking students speak English with difficulty.


* English language proficiency among parents is an important economic asset that is associated with increased workforce participation, significantly higher earnings, and economic mobility.  This, in turn, contributes to the amount of family resources that are available for investment in children.

* Education strategies must focus on breaking the cycles of linguistic isolation.

* Employer-based, faith-based, and community-based nonprofit organizations provide useful strategies to reach English learners.

* Progress in reducing language gaps and improving English proficiency is most limited in high poverty communities.


Click here to read the full report.