Data Dictionary: ACS 2012 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B16006. Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over (Hispanic Or Latino) [8]
Universe: Universe: Hispanic or Latino population 5 years and over
Table Details
B16006. Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over (Hispanic Or Latino)
Universe: Universe: Hispanic or Latino population 5 years and over
Variable Label
B16006001
B16006002
B16006003
B16006004
B16006005
B16006006
B16006007
B16006008
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Language Spoken at Home
Language Spoken at Home by the Respondent
Data on language spoken at home were derived from answers to questions 14a and 14b in the 2012 American Community Survey. 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 Four Main Group Classifications and Thirty-Nine Subgroup Classifications of Languages Spoken at Home with Illustrative Examples 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 2012 Code List on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs) for Language Code List.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Ability to Speak English
Respondent's Ability to Speak English
Respondents who reported speaking a language other than English (question 14a in the 2012 American Community Survey) were asked to indicate their English-speaking ability (question 14c in the 2012 American Community Survey) based on one of the following categories: "Very well," "Well," "Not well," or "Not at all." Those who answered "Well," "Not well," or "Not at all" are sometimes referred as "Less than 'very well.'" Respondents were not instructed on how to interpret the response categories in this question.

Households in which no one 14 and over speaks English only or speaks a language other than English at home and speaks English "very well"
This variable identifies households that may need English language assistance. This arises when no one 14 and over meets either of two conditions

(1) they speak English at home or

(2) even though they speak another language, they also report that they speak English "very well."

After data are collected for each person in the household, this variable checks if all people 14 years old and older speak a language other than English. If so, the variable checks the English-speaking ability responses to see if all people 14 years old and older speak English "Less than 'very well.'" If all household members 14 and over speak a language other than English and speak English "Less than 'very well,'" the household is considered part of this group that may be in need of English language assistance. All members of a household were identified in this group, 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. "Households in which no one 14 and over speaks English only or speaks a language other than English and speaks English 'very well'" has been calculated the same way in all years of ACS data collection, but has sometimes been termed "Linguistic Isolation."

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. Though the term "Linguistic Isolation" is no longer used, data under this heading may still be compared.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Hispanic or Latino Origin
The data on the Hispanic or Latino population were derived from answers to a question that was asked of all people. The terms "Hispanic," "Latino," and "Spanish" are used interchangeably. Some respondents identify with all three terms while others may identify with only one of these three specific terms. Hispanics or Latinos who identify with the terms "Hispanic," "Latino," or "Spanish" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish categories listed on the questionnaire ("Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban") as well as those who indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." People who do not identify with one of the specific origins listed on the questionnaire but indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" are those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, or the Dominican Republic. Up to two write-in responses to the "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" category are coded.

Origin can be viewed as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States. People who identify their origin as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish may be of any race.

Hispanic origin is used in numerous programs and is vital in making policy decisions. These data are needed to determine compliance with provisions of antidiscrimination in employment and minority recruitment legislation. Under the Voting Rights Act, data about Hispanic origin are essential to ensure enforcement of bilingual election rules. Hispanic origin classifications used by the Census Bureau and other federal agencies meet the requirements of standards issued by the Office of Management and Budget in 1997 (Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity). These standards set forth guidance for statistical collection and reporting on race and ethnicity used by all federal agencies.

Some tabulations are shown by the origin of the householder. In all cases where the origin of households, families, or occupied housing units is classified as Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish, the origin of the householder is used. (For more information, see the discussion of householder under "Household Type and Relationship.")

Coding of Hispanic Origin Write-in Responses
There were two types of coding operations: (1) automated coding where a write-in response was automatically coded if it matched a write-in response already contained in a database known as the "master file," and (2) expert coding, which took place when a write-in response did not match an entry already on the master file, and was sent to expert coders familiar with the subject matter. During the coding process, subject-matter specialists reviewed and coded written entries from the "Yes, another Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin" write-in response category on the Hispanic origin question.

Editing of Hispanic Origin Responses
If an individual did not provide a Hispanic origin response, their origin was allocated using specific rules of precedence of household relationship. For example, if origin was missing for a natural-born child in the household, then either the origin of the householder, another natural-born child, or spouse of the householder was allocated. If Hispanic origin was not reported for anyone in the household and origin could not be obtained from a response to the race question, then the Hispanic origin of a householder in a previously processed household with the same race was allocated. Surnames (Spanish and Non-Spanish) were used to assist in allocating an origin or race.

Question/Concept History

Beginning in 1996, the American Community Survey question was worded "Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?" In 2008, the question wording changed to "Is this person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?" From 1999 to 2007, the Hispanic origin question provided an instruction, "Mark (X) the "No" box if not Spanish/Hispanic/Latino." The 2008 question, as well as the 1996 to 1998 questions, did not have this instruction. In addition, in 2008, the "Yes, another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish" category provided examples of six Hispanic origin groups (Argentinean, Colombian, Dominican, Nicaraguan, Salvadoran, Spaniard, and so on).

Limitation of the Data

Beginning in 2006, the population in group quarters (GQ) is included in the ACS. Some types of GQ populations may have Hispanic or Latino origin distributions that are different from the household population. The inclusion of the GQ population could therefore have a noticeable impact on the Hispanic or Latino origin distribution. This is particularly true for areas with a substantial GQ population.

Comparability

The ACS question on Hispanic origin was revised in 2008 to make it consistent with the 2010 Census Hispanic origin question. The reporting of specific Hispanic groups (e.g., Colombian, Dominican, Spaniard, etc.) increased at the national level. The change in estimates for 2012 may be due to demographic changes, as well as factors including questionnaire changes, differences in ACS population controls, and methodological differences in the population estimates. Caution should be used when comparing 2012 estimates to estimates from previous years. The 2012 Hispanic origin question is different from the Census 2000 question on Hispanic origin, therefore comparisons should be made with caution. More information about the changes in the estimates is available (http://www.census.gov/population/hispanic/files/acs08researchnote.pdf).

See the 2012 Code List on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs) for Hispanic Origin Code List.