July 28, 2010

How Young Latinos Communicate with Friends in the Digital Age

II. How Young Latinos Communicate

When it comes to communicating and socializing with their friends, young Latinos ages 16 to 25 are most likely to say they do so daily with either a text message or a call from a cell phone. Half (50%) say they use text messaging to communicate with their friends daily, while 45% say they do so using a cell phone.

Social networking sites are also an important way that young Latinos communicate with their friends. Nearly one-in-four (23%) say they make daily use of social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace to talk with their friends. In contrast, email is the least common form of daily communication among young Latinos—just 10% use it daily.

While mobile and internet technologies are the media that young Latinos use most for daily communication with their friends, they are not the only ones used. One-in-five (21%) young Latinos say they communicate daily face-to-face with their friends outside of school or work. And nearly as many, 18%, say they communicate daily with their friends using a landline or home phone.

The Native Born Use Mobile Technologies More than the Foreign Born

The use of mobile technologies for communication is more prevalent among native-born young Latinos than immigrant young Latinos. Two-thirds (65%) of native-born young Latinos say they use text messaging daily, while just 26% of the foreign born say the same. On cell phone use, U.S.-born young Latinos are nearly twice as likely as immigrant young Latinos to say they talk on a cell phone with friends daily—55% versus 29%.

When it comes to internet technologies, the native born are more than three times as likely as the foreign born to say they use a social networking site to communicate and socialize with friends daily—31% versus 10%. And some 13% of the native born use email daily to communicate, while just 6% of the foreign born do so.

Few differences exist between the native born and foreign born when using other forms of communication. One-in-four (24%) native-born young Latinos communicate daily in person with their friends outside of school or work, while 16% of immigrant young Latinos say they do so. Native-born and immigrant young Latinos are equally likely to say they use a landline or home phone to communicate with their friends daily—17% and 19%, respectively.

Spanish-Dominant Young Latinos Least Likely to Use Mobile or Internet Technologies

English-dominant young Hispanics are more likely than bilingual young Hispanics or Spanish-dominant young Hispanics to say they use mobile and internet technologies to communicate or socialize daily with their friends. Nearly seven-in-ten (68%) English-dominant young Latinos say they text daily, while half (50%) of bilingual young Latinos and fewer than two-in-ten (19%) Spanish-dominant young Latinos say the same. When it comes to talking on a cell phone with friends, nearly six-in-ten (58%) English-dominant young Latinos say they do this daily, while 44% of bilingual and 27% of Spanish-dominant young Latinos say the same.

Daily use of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace to communicate with friends is also more common among English-dominant (33%) and bilingual (24%) young Latinos than Spanish-dominant (5%) young Latinos. With regard to email, 12% of English-dominant and bilingual young Latinos daily use it, while just 3% of Spanish-dominant young Latinos do the same.

When it comes to other platforms for socializing, smaller differences emerge between English-dominant, bilingual and Spanish-dominant young Latinos. Nearly one-in-four English-dominant (24%) and bilingual (23%) Latino youths say they communicate daily with their friends in person, while 12% of Spanish-dominant young Latinos say the same. And as far as use of a landline or home phone, bilingual youths (24%) are more likely to say they do this, compared with English-dominant (12%) and Spanish-dominant (15%) Latino youths.

Hispanic Females Use Traditional Mediums for Communication More than Hispanic Males

Young female Hispanics and young male Hispanics are equally like to use mobile technologies such as text messaging or a cell phone to communicate daily with their friends. However, according to the survey, young female Hispanics are more likely to use social networking sites to communicate daily with friends than young male Hispanics—27% versus 19%.

In contrast, when it comes to face-to-face communication outside of work or school, young male Hispanics are more likely than young female Hispanics to do this. Some 26% of young male Hispanics say they communicate or socialize daily in person with their friends, while just 15% of female Hispanics do the same. When it comes to communication through a landline or home phone, young male Hispanics are more likely to say they do this than young female Hispanics—19% versus 16%. And when it comes to email, 12% of Hispanic males use it daily to communicate with friends, while 9% of Hispanic females do the same.

Latino Youths More Likely than Older Latinos to Communicate Through Mobile and Internet Technologies

Latino youths ages 16 to 25 are more likely than Latinos ages 26 and older to use texting and cell phones to communicate and socialize with their friends. The age difference is particularly stark for texting, with only 21% of older Latinos saying they text friends on a daily basis, compared with half (50%) of Latino youths. Even with the rapid proliferation of cell phones, age differences in daily use remain notable; 45% of Latino youth report talking on a cell phone daily with their friends, compared with 31% of older Latinos.

Also, young Latinos are almost four times as likely as older Latinos to reach out to friends using social networking sites—23% versus 6%.

By contrast, Latino youths and older Latinos are equally likely to send emails daily to friends—about one-in-ten of each group do so.

When it comes to more traditional forms of socializing and communicating, young Latinos, and those ages 26 and older are similar in terms of the use of a landline or home phone. Some 18% of youths use a landline or home phone daily, as do 19% of Latinos ages 26 and older. However, youths are more than twice as likely to report that they socialize in person with their friends daily. While one-in-ten (10%) Latinos 26 and older do so, this share rises to 21% among Latinos ages 16 to 25.