Bilingual families are complex and multifaceted. Bilingualism—the ability to speak, read, and/or write two or more languages—is not unidimensional. Also, the term family is complex in its membership. Bilingual families can look and act in many ways and have a wide range of language abilities and experiences within. This entry will unpack some of the different types of bilingual families, home-based language acquisition environments and situations, and the role of community and school in bilingual families’ choices.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 20% of children under the age of 5 in the United States live in a household in which no one older than 13 speaks English as a native language. However, this statistic marks only one type of bilingual family out of the ...

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