Tags: Boston | immigrants | English classes

Demand for English Classes Rises Along With Boston's Immigrant Population

By    |   Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:18 AM

Boston is struggling to help its burgeoning adult immigrant population speak English, city officials say. Thousands are on waiting lists for places at both public and private English-language schools, Boston.com reported.

There are 3,400 adults now taking English for Speakers of Other Languages classes offered by the city; 4,000 more are wait-listed. The situation is similar for commercial language courses, Boston.com reported.

Some 27 percent of the city's roughly 646,000 people were not born in the United States. Nearly half of all young people in Boston have foreign-born parents, though only 8.1 percent of Boston's children are themselves foreign-born, according to a report from the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

While 28.9 percent of foreign-born Bostonians have not completed high school, some 30 percent have a bachelor's degree or higher, according to the report.

Of the foreign born population, 48 percent are from Latin America (including the Dominican Republic and Haiti), 25 percent from Asia (including China and Vietnam) and the rest mostly from Europe (Russia) and Africa (Cabo Verde and Nigeria), according to the report.

Boston is also diverse in its racial composition with people of color comprising 53 percent of the population, according to The Boston Globe.

"Boston has always been a city of immigrants," Alejandra St. Guillen of the city's Office of New Bostonians told Boston.com. "You can't find a place in Boston that doesn't have a growing immigrant population."

The city is lobbying the state to provide additional funds to teach English, arguing that to benefit from Boston's diversity people have to be able to communicate. City Councilor Ayanna Pressley said the state had cut back on its financial support.

It costs the city about $2,500 to teach English to one adult student, Boston.com reported.

English is spoken at home in 63.9 percent of Boston households. There are 28,354 households in which no person over 14 is proficient in English, according to the report.

Improving the English-language skills of the population is good for the economy and also gives children a more supportive family environment, say advocates of increased funding.

The number of Bostonians who claim Irish heritage stands at 16.1 percent – slightly more than the 2000 figure of 15.8 percent, according to the report.

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Boston is struggling to help its burgeoning adult immigrant population speak English, city officials say.
Boston, immigrants, English classes
Thursday, 26 March 2015 09:18 AM
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