The Economic Benefits of Multilingual Learning
A report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute explores multilingual learning among California’s youngest children and highlights benefits that improve educational outcomes, boost household incomes, and give California companies the edge needed to compete on the world stage.
Following is an excerpt from the report. To read the full report visit: Bay Area Council Economic Institute
California is home to nearly a quarter of the nation’s foreign-born population, and multilingual children represent 40% of the state’s public-school enrollment, a number that only continues to grow among the state’s youngest children. Unlike programs that have traditionally pushed students to learn English above all else, programs designed to support students’ home languages in addition to English – also know as multilingual programs – are increasingly gaining support. Here, we find that supporting multilingual learning among California’s youngest children can improve educational outcomes, boost household incomes, and give California companies the edge needed to compete on the world stage.
Key findings include:
– In California, nearly 60% of children under the age of five have at least one parent who speaks a language other than English.
– Those same children are 160% more likely to live under the poverty level than peers with English-only speaking parents.
– Non-English speaking households in California would collectively earn $30 billion more, or $15,519 more per household if they earned as much as their bilingual counterparts.