Data Dictionary: ACS 2009 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B99161. Imputation Of Language Status For The Population 5 Years And Over [3]
Universe: Population 5 years and over
Table Details
B99161. Imputation Of Language Status For The Population 5 Years And Over
Universe: Population 5 years and over
Variable Label
B99161001
B99161002
B99161003
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Imputation Rates
Missing data for a particular question or item is called item nonresponse. It occurs when a respondent fails to provide an answer to a required item. The ACS also considers invalid answers as item nonresponse. The Census Bureau uses imputation methods that either use rules to determine acceptable answers or use answers from similar housing units or people who provided the item information. One type of imputation, allocation, involves using statistical procedures, such as within-household or nearest neighbor matrices populated by donors, to impute for missing values.

Overall Person Characteristic Imputation Rate
This rate is calculated by adding together the weighted number of allocated items across a set of person characteristics, and dividing by the total weighted number of responses across the same set of characteristics.

Overall Housing Characteristic Imputation Rate
This rate is calculated by adding together the weighted number of allocated items across a set of household and housing unit characteristics, and dividing by the total weighted number of responses across the same set of characteristics. These rates give an overall picture of the rate of item nonresponse for a geographic area.

Ability to Speak English and Linguistic Isolation
Respondents Ability to Speak EnglishRespondents 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." Respondents were not instructed on how to interpret the response categories in Question 14c.

Household Linguistic Isolation
A linguistically isolated household was one in which all adults had some limitation in communicating English. A household was classified as "linguistically isolated" if, (1) No household member age 14 years and over spoke only English, and (2) No household member age 14 years and over who spoke another language spoke English "Very well". All members of a linguistically isolated household were tabulated as linguistically isolated, including members under 14 years old who may have spoken only English.

Government agencies use information on language spoken at home for their programs that serve the needs of the foreign-born and specifically those who have difficulty with English. Under the Voting Rights Act, language is needed to meet statutory requirements for making voting materials available in minority languages. The Census Bureau is directed, using data about language spoken at home and the ability to speak English, to identify minority groups that speak a language other than English and to assess their English-speaking ability. The U.S. Department of Education uses these data to prepare a report to Congress on the social and economic status of children served by different local school districts.

Government agencies use information on language spoken at home for their programs that serve the needs of the foreign-born and specifically those who have difficulty with English. Under the Voting Rights Act, language is needed to meet statutory requirements for making voting materials available in minority languages. The Census Bureau is directed, using data about language spoken at home and the ability to speak English, to identify minority groups that speak a language other than English and to assess their English-speaking ability. The U.S. Department of Education uses these data to prepare a report to Congress on the social and economic status of children served by different local school districts. State and local agencies concerned with aging develop health care and other services tailored to the language and cultural diversity of the elderly under the Older Americans Act.

Question/Concept History
The English Language Ability question has been the same since the beginning of ACS.

Limitation of the Data
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.

Comparability
All years of ACS language data are comparable to each other. They are also comparable to Census data from 1980, 1990 and 2000.