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Global Studies and Languages

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Department of Global Studies and Languages
Idaho State University
921 South 8th Avenue, Stop 8067
Pocatello, Idaho, USA 83209

Phone: 208-282-3630
Fax: 208-282-3098

Frequently Asked Questions

What does our major have to offer? We are a major that has as its goal professional engagement with the changing demographics of our state and our country. Read the fact sheet below and see just how relevant the Spanish for Healthcare major is both in Idaho and the nation!

How much of Idaho's population is primarily Spanish-speaking?

According to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, Idaho's Hispanic population has increased by 63% in the last 10 years, as compared to a 21% increase in non-Hispanics in Idaho. According to the 2010 Census, approximately 11.2% of the total Idaho population is Hispanic.
In seven Idaho counties Hispanics make up over 20% of the population and at least one county has a Hispanic population of approximately 40.5%, which is more than twice that of the average national percentage of 16.3%.
There are large regions in Southern Idaho, in particular, with more than 20% Hispanic/Latino populations. Furthermore, according to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, there are some schools in rural areas in which the Hispanic population has risen to as high as 80%.

What percentage of the hispanic population in Idaho has only Limited English Proficiency?

As Idaho's Hispanic population increases, so does the Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Hispanic population. The 2010 census revealed that 61% of Idaho Hispanics come from homes speaking a language other than English. The 2007 Hispanic Profile Data Book stated that 32% of Idaho Hispanics spoke English "not well or not at all."

What about the nation? How many people in the United States are Hispanic or of Hispanic descent?

On a national level, as of 2012, Hispanics/Latinos represent 16.9% of the total population. US Census projections predict that by the year 2050 the US Hispanic/Latino population will have reached 102.6 million, approximately 24.4% of the total US population.

Where in the United States is the Hispanic population growing?

The Hispanic population and Hispanic LEP population grew in every region of the United States between 2000 and 2010, and most significantly in the South and Midwest.
The 2010 US Census reported Hispanics are the largest minority group represented in the Intermountain West. The South saw a 57% increase in its Hispanic population, which was four times the growth of the total population in the South (14%); in the Midwest it grew by 49%, more than 12 times the growth of the total population in the Midwest (4%). Western states also saw significant growth, 34%, between 2000 and 2010, while the Northeast's Hispanic population grew by 33%. In particular, Hispanic concentrations were found in counties within central Washington, in Kansas, Idaho, Okalahoma, Nebraska, and Colorado; around Chicago and along the East coast fron New York to Virginia; in central and southern Florida; and the District of Columbia.

Why is this change in the national demographic significant for my career in healthcare?

"By the time health care reform is fully implemented, in 2014, 44 million new subscribers will be added to the health insurance rolls. Half will come from non-English speaking immigrant communities." Bilingual Health Care Providers

Will proficiency in Spanish help me get a job?

YES! Here are some reasons why, and some possible employment opportunities for majors in Spanish for Healthcare:

Why will Spanish proficiency increase my marketability after I graduate?

Spanish is considered the most important language to learn in the United States right now.
..."Spanish is understandably stressed as the most important language for Americans of any age to learn...Regardless of your age, it's never too late to ad a skill that will boost your employment prospects and possibly your paycheck. The need for employees with foreign language skills is only expected to grow in the next 10 years, and there are many fields hwere being bilingual can have a real bearing on your candidacy (Chicago Tribune, 2012).

How much need is there for Spanish speakers in the current job market?

Employment opportunities for Spanish-speakers increase every year.
"The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 22% increase in employment for interpreters (generally defined as on-the-spot and person-to-person) and translators (involving written or recorded matter) in al job categories. The greatest number of these will be shared betwen health care and law where "it is critical that information be fully understood among all parties." Bilingual Health Care Providers

What kind of employers woudl highly value a major in Spanish for Healthcare? Why would my training in Spanish for Healthcare be an asset to employers?

Medical Fields: Many medical facilities are in need of multilingual personnel to communicate often-complicated information with patients and their families, especially in emergencies. Registered nurses, home heath aides, and paramedics are the health care fields most often in need of bilingual workers.
Education: The growing popularity of multilingual education programs means that those who can teach foreign languages are also hot commodities.
Customer Service/Hospitality: When dealing with people who may be from foreign countries, either on the phone or at a hotel's front desk, knowing a second language can be a huge asset. Customers and tourists appreciate being able to communicate with customer service and hospitality workers in their native language, making you more attractive to employers.
Government: Many government agencies are recruiting and rewarding bilingual workers with extra pay. While Spanish is the language most in demand, Chinese, Arabic, and Russian speakers are also needed in various parts of government. Whether gathering intelligence for a government agency, working for a foreign embassy, or serving as a translator, there are many bilingual opportunities in public service.
Finance: As the U.S. economy has grown increasingly global, employees in the financial industry are dealing with customers and clients who use various currencies and speak many different languages. Learning another language can give you an advantage and make you much more valuable to multinational companies.
Information Technology: The impact of outsourcing on the tech industry has led to a great need for those who possess foreign language skills. It's importnt for technology firms to limit language barriers when managing large projects that often have an international workforce and span various countries, where clear and concise communication of highly technical work is key.

The Impact of the Hispanic population is wide-ranging. Here is some additional information about the Hispanic population's importance in Idaho's economy, as well as the overall economy of the United States.

How does this increase in the Hispanic population benefit the economy?

In Idaho:

"Despite sluggish overall economic growth the past two years, the Hispanic community in the state broke the $3 billion in buying power mark for the first time in 2011. The increase in the buying power of Idaho Hispanics, the state's largest minority, jumped 11.2 percent to nearly $3.2 billion in 2011 while non-Hispanic buyhing power was up just 6 pwercent to over $46.1 billion." (For more information, see the Blackfoot Journal's article on Hispanic Buying Power)

In the Nation:

The number of Hispanic owned businesses increased 37 percent between 1992 and 2002.
According to the Census Bureau, the number of all Hispanic businesses was up 49 percent to nearly 2,800 (601 with employees) and those businesses tripled their payrolls to over $65 million.
According to the Selig Center for Economic Growth at the University of Georgia, This growth is making the Idaho consumer market more diverse, creating new opportunities for businesses that reach out to this expanding economic bloc through product line and advertising.
The Selig Center estimates that the buying power of Hispanics in Idaho at nearly $1.8 billion in 2005, accounting for nearly 5 percent of the total buying power in Idaho. That was up 350 percent fron less than $400 million in 1990 (Idaho Hispanics, Total Buying Power, 1990-2004)


In 2012, Idaho exported $257 million in goods and services to Mexico. Mexico is Idaho's seventh largest trading partner.
Idaho and Jalisco, Mexico, established a sister-state relationship in 1996. Idaho maintains a trade office in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco. The office is jointly managed by the Idaho Department of Commerce and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

How does my personal proficiency in Spanish also benefit the economy?

As Roger B. Madsen, Director, Idaho Commerce & Labor confirms, "Business owners who take the time to learn about our state's Hispanic Population, income, and buying power will successfully deliver goods and service to one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in Idaho." (Idaho Department of Labor, 2006)