A diminishing share of United States residents speak languages other than English–a trend that could have important consequences for business, international affairs, and intellectual exchange, according to a new report from American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The Academy’s new report, The State of Languages in the U.S.: A Statistical Portrait, summarizes the nation’s current language capacity, focusing on the U.S. education system. A joint venture of the Academy’s Commission on Language Learning and Humanities Indicators, the report draws on the most recent national, state, and local data sources available to draw a more complete picture of language use in the nation.

“This very important work is ongoing and we look forward to the Commission’s final report and recommendations that will be available in February [2017],” said Jonathan F. Fanton, president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The report estimates that only 20 percent of U.S. residents can speak a language other than English, and it highlights data showing how quickly facility in a language other than English fades in immigrant households, even among those who immigrated to the U.S. as children.

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