Data Dictionary: ACS 2008 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Universe: Universe: Workers 16 years and Over
Variable Details
C08113. Means of Transportation to Work By Language Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English
Universe: Universe: Workers 16 years and Over
C08113028 Speak language other than English
Aggregation method:
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2006-2008 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
Means of Transportation to Work
The data on means of transportation to work were derived from answers to Question 30, which was asked of people who indicated in Question 28 that they worked at some time during the reference week. (See "Reference Week.") Means of transportation to work refers to the principal mode of travel or type of conveyance that the worker usually used to get from home to work during the reference week.

People who used different means of transportation on different days of the week were asked to specify the one they used most often, that is, the greatest number of days. People who used more than one means of transportation to get to work each day were asked to report the one used for the longest distance during the work trip. The category, "Car, truck, or van," includes workers using a car (including company cars but excluding taxicabs), a truck of one-ton capacity or less, or a van. The category, "Public transportation," includes workers who used a bus or trolley bus, streetcar or trolley car, subway or elevated, railroad, or ferryboat, even if each mode is not shown separately in the tabulation. "Carro público" is included in the public transportation category in Puerto Rico. The category, "Other means," includes workers who used a mode of travel that is not identified separately within the data distribution. The category, "Other means," may vary from table to table, depending on the amount of detail shown in a particular distribution.

The means of transportation data for some areas may show workers using modes of public transportation that are not available in those areas (for example, subway or elevated riders in a metropolitan area where there is no subway or elevated service). This result is largely due to people who worked during the reference week at a location that was different from their usual place of work (such as people away from home on business in an area where subway service was available), and people who used more than one means of transportation each day but whose principal means was unavailable where they lived (for example, residents of nonmetropolitan areas who drove to the fringe of a metropolitan area, and took the commuter railroad most of the distance to work).
Limitation of the Data
Beginning in 2006, the group quarters (GQ) population is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations have means of transportation distributions that are very different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the means of transportation to work distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.
Question/Concept History
Beginning in 1999, the American Community Survey questions differ from the 1996-1998 questions only in the format of the skip instructions. Beginning in 2004, the category, "Public transportation" was tabulated to exclude workers who used taxicab as their means of transportation.
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.