Data Dictionary: ACS 2012 (1-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B99163. Imputation Of Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over [5]
Universe: Universe: Population 5 years and over
Table Details
B99163. Imputation Of Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over
Universe: Universe: Population 5 years and over
Variable Label
B99163001
B99163002
B99163003
B99163004
B99163005
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 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.


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.