Data Dictionary: ACS 2006 -- 2008 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Universe: Population 5 years and over
Variable Details
B16001. Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over
Universe: Universe: Population 5 years and over
B16001060 Other Indic languages
Aggregation method:
Addition
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Language Spoken at Home
Data on language spoken at home were derived from answers to the 2008 American Community Survey Questions 13a and 13b. These questions were asked only of persons 5 years of age and older. Instructions mailed with the American Community Survey questionnaire instructed respondents to mark "Yes" on Question 13a if they sometimes or always spoke a language other than English at home, and "No" if a language was spoken only at school - or if speaking was limited to a few expressions or slang. For Question 13b, respondents printed the name of the non-English language they spoke at home. If the person spoke more than one non-English language, they reported the language spoken most often. If the language spoken most frequently could not be determined, the respondent reported the language learned first.

Questions 13a and 13b referred to languages spoken at home in an effort to measure the current use of languages other than English. This category excluded respondents who spoke a language other than English exclusively outside of the home.

Most respondents who reported speaking a language other than English also spoke English. The questions did not permit a determination of the primary language of persons who spoke both English and another language.

An automated computer system coded write-in responses to Question 13b into more than 380 detailed language categories. This automated procedure compared write-in responses with a master computer code list - which contained approximately 55,000 previously coded language names and variants - and then assigned a detailed language category to each write-in response. The computerized matching assured that identical alphabetic entries received the same code. Clerical coding categorized any write-in responses that did not match the computer dictionary. When multiple languages other than English were specified, only the first was coded.
The write-in responses represented the names people used for languages they spoke. They may not have matched the names or categories used by professional linguists. The categories used were sometimes geographic and sometimes linguistic. The following table provides an illustration of the content of the classification schemes used to present language data.
Four and Thirty-Nine Group Classifications of Languages Spoken at Home with Illustrative Examples
Four-Group Classification Thirty-nine Group Classification Examples
Spanish Spanish or Spanish Creole Spanish, Ladino, Pachuco
Other Indo-European languages French French, Cajun, Patois
French Creole Haitian Creole
Italian Italian
Portuguese or Portuguese Creole Portuguese, Papia Mentae
German German, Luxembourgian
Yiddish Yiddish
Other West Germanic languages Dutch, Pennsylvania Dutch, Afrikaans
Scandinavian languages Danish, Norwegian, Swedish
Greek Greek
Russian Russian
Polish Polish
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian, Croatian, Serbian
Other Slavic languages Czech, Slovak, Ukrainian
Armenian Armenian
Persian Persian
Gujarathi Gujarathi
Hindi Hindi
Urdu Urdu
Other Indic languages Bengali, Marathi, Punjabi, Romany
Other Indo-European languages Albanian, Gaelic, Lithuanian,Rumanian
Asian and Pacific Island languages Chinese Cantonese, Formosan, Mandarin
Japanese Japanese
Korean Korean
Mon-Khmer, Cambodian Mon-Khmer, Cambodian
Hmong Hmong
Thai Thai
Laotian Laotian
Vietnamese Vietnamese
Other Asian languages Dravidian languages (Malayalam, Telugu, Tamil),Turkish
Tagalog Tagalog
Other Pacific Island languages Chamorro, Hawaiian, Ilocano, Indonesian, Samoan
All other languages Navajo Navajo
Other Native North American languages Apache, Cherokee, Dakota, Pima, Yupik
Hungarian Hungarian
Arabic Arabic
Hebrew Hebrew
African languages Amharic, Ibo, Twi, Yoruba, Bantu, Swahili, Somali
Other and unspecified languages Syriac, Finnish, Other languages of the Americas, not reported

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Ability to Speak English
Respondents who reported speaking a language other than English were asked to indicate their English-speaking ability based on one of the following categories: "Very well," "Well," "Not well," or "Not at all." Ideally, the data on ability to speak English represented a person's perception of their own English-speaking ability. However, because one household member usually completes American Community Survey questionnaires, the responses may have represented the perception of another household member. Respondents were not instructed on how to interpret the response categories in Question 13c.
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Age
The data on age were derived from answers to Question 4. The age classification is based on the age of the person in complete years at the time of interview. Both age and date of birth are used in combination to calculate the most accurate age at the time of the interview. Inconsistently reported and missing values are assigned or imputed based on the values of other variables for that person, from other people in the household, or from people in other households ("hot deck" imputation). Data on age are used to determine the applicability of other questions for a particular individual and to classify other characteristics in tabulations. Age data are needed to interpret most social and economic characteristics used to plan and analyze programs and policies. Therefore, age data are tabulated by many different age groupings, such as 5-year age groups.
Median Age
The median age is the age that divides the population into two equal-size groups. Half of the population is older than the median age and half is younger. Median age is based on a standard distribution of the population by single years of age and is shown to the nearest tenth of a year. (See the sections on "Standard Distributions" and "Medians" under "Derived Measures.")
Age Dependency Ratio
The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under-18 and 65-and-over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Old-Age Dependency Ratio
The old-age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population 65 years and over by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100.
Child Dependency Ratio
The child dependency ratio is derived by dividing the population under 18 years by the 18-to-64 population, and multiplying by 100.
Limitation of the Data
Caution should be taken when comparing population in age groups across time. The entire population continually ages into older age groups over time and babies fill in the youngest age group. Therefore, the population of a certain age is made up of a completely different group of people in 2000 and 2008. Since populations occasionally experience booms/increases and busts/decreases in births, deaths, or migration (for example, the postwar Baby Boom from 1946-1964), one should not necessarily expect that the population in an age group in Census 2000 should be similar in size or proportion to the population in the same age group in the 2008 ACS. For example, Baby Boomers were age 36 to 54 in Census 2000 while they were age 44 to 62 in the 2008 ACS. Therefore, the age group 55 to 59 would show a considerable increase in population when comparing Census 2000 data with the 2008 ACS data. Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have age distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the age distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Question/Concept History
The 1996-2002 American Community Survey question asked for month, day, and year of birth before age. Since 2003, the American Community Survey question asked for age, followed by month, day, and year of birth. In 2008, an additional instruction was provided with the age and date of birth question on the American Community Survey questionnaire to report babies as age 0 when the child was less than 1 year old. The addition of this instruction occurred after 2005 National Census Test results indicated increased accuracy of age reporting for babies less than one year old.