Data Dictionary: ACS 2005 -- 2009 (5-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B10054. Language And Ability To Speak English Of Grandparents Living With Own Grandchildren Under 18 Years By Responsibility For Own Grandchildren And Age Of Grandparent [17]
Universe: Grandparents living with own grandchildren under 18 years
Table Details
B10054. Language And Ability To Speak English Of Grandparents Living With Own Grandchildren Under 18 Years By Responsibility For Own Grandchildren And Age Of Grandparent
Universe: Grandparents living with own grandchildren under 18 years
Relevant Documentation:
Language Spoken at Home and Ability to Speak English
Language Spoken at Home by the Respondent
Data on language spoken at home were derived from answers to the 2008 American Community Survey Questions 14a and 14b. 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 14a 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 14b, 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 14a and 14b 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.

An automated computer system coded write-in responses to Question 14b 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 table in Appendix A provides an illustration of the content of the classification schemes used to present language data.

Household Language
In households where one or more people spoke a language other than English, the household language assigned to all household members was the non-English language spoken by the first person with a non-English language. This assignment scheme ranked household members in the following order: householder, spouse, parent, sibling, child, grandchild, other relative, stepchild, unmarried partner, housemate or roommate, and other nonrelatives. Therefore, a person who spoke only English may have had a non-English household language assigned during tabulations by household language.

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 Language Spoken Questions have changed only once since ACS began. Examples of languages were listed immediately followed the question "What is this language?" in the 1996-1998 questionnaire. Starting in 1999, the list of languages was moved to below the write-in box.

Limitation of the Data
The language question is about current use of a non-English language, not about ability to speak another language or the use of such a language in the past. People who speak a language other than English outside of the home are not reported as speaking a language other than English. Similarly, people whose mother tongue is a non-English language but who do not currently use the language at home do not report the language. Some people who speak a language other than English at home may have first learned that language in school. These people are expected to indicate speaking English "Very well."

Comparability
All years of ACS language data are comparable to each other. They are also comparable to Census data from 1980, 1990 and 2000. See the 2009 Code List for Language Code List.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2005-2009 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Grandparents as Caregivers
Data on grandparents as caregivers were derived from Questions 25a through 25c. Data were collected on whether a grandchild lives with a grandparent in the household, whether the grandparent has responsibility for the basic needs of the grandchild, and the duration of that responsibility.

Existence of a Grandparent Living with a Grandchild in the Household
This was determined by a "Yes" answer to the question, "Does this person have any of his/her own grandchildren under the age of 18 living in this house or apartment?" This question was asked of people 15 years of age and over. Because of the low numbers of persons under 30 years old living with their grandchildren, data were only tabulated for people 30 and over.

Responsibility for Basic Needs
This question determines if the grandparent is financially responsible for food, shelter, clothing, day care, etc., for any or all grandchildren living in the household. In selected tabulations, grandparent responsibility is further classified by presence of parent (of the grandchild).

Duration of Responsibility
The answer refers to the grandchild for whom the grandparent has been responsible for the longest period of time. Duration categories ranged from less than 6 months to 5 or more years.

Question/Concept History
This set of questions was added to the American Community Survey in 1999 to comply with legislation passed in the 104th Congress requiring that the decennial census program obtain information about grandparents who have primary responsibility for the care of their grandchildren. The response categories for length of time caring for grandchildren were modified slightly between the 1999 and 2000 American Community Survey questionnaires to match the 2000 decennial census questionnaire. The question has remained unchanged since then.

Limitation of the Data
Before 2006, ACS grandparents data had a universe of people in households (which was the same as that in Census 2000 and the CPS). Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have grandparents as caregivers distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the grandparents as caregivers distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Comparability
The data on grandparents as caregivers can be compared to previous ACS years, Census 2000, and to similar data collected in the CPS (with the potential limitation noted above about areas with a substantial GQ population).