Data Dictionary: ACS 2010 -- 2012 (3-Year Estimates)
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Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Table: B16005C. Nativity By Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over (American Indian And Alaska Native Alone) [11]
Universe: Universe: American Indian and Alaska Native alone population 5 years and over
Table Details
B16005C. Nativity By Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over (American Indian And Alaska Native Alone)
Universe: Universe: American Indian and Alaska Native alone population 5 years and over
Relevant Documentation:
Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
Place of Birth
The data on place of birth were derived from answers to Question 7 in the 2012 American Community Survey. Respondents were asked to select one of two categories: (1) in the United States, or (2) outside the United States. In the American Community Survey, respondents selecting category (1) were then asked to report the name of the state while respondents selecting category (2) were then asked to report the name of the foreign country, or Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. In the Puerto Rico Community Survey, respondents selecting category (1) were also asked to report the name of the state, while respondents selecting category (2) were then asked to print Puerto Rico or the name of the foreign country, or U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, etc. People not reporting a place of birth were assigned the state or country of birth of another family member, or were allocated the response of another individual with similar characteristics. People born outside the United States were asked to report their place of birth according to current international boundaries. Since numerous changes in boundaries of foreign countries have occurred in the last century, some people may have reported their place of birth in terms of boundaries that existed at the time of their birth or emigration, or in accordance with their own national preference.

The place of birth questions along with the citizenship status question provide essential data for setting and evaluating immigration policies and laws. Knowing the characteristics of immigrants helps legislators and others understand how different immigrant groups are assimilated. Federal agencies require these data to develop programs for refugees and other foreign-born individuals. Vital information on lifetime migration among states also comes from the place of birth question.

Nativity
Information on place of birth and citizenship status was used to classify the population into two major categories: native and foreign born.

Native
The native population includes anyone who was a U.S. citizen at birth. The native population includes those born in the United States, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Marianas, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as those born abroad of at least one U.S. citizen parent. The native population is divided into the following groups: people born in the state in which they resided at the time of the survey; people born in a different state, by region; people born in Puerto Rico or one of the U.S. Island Areas; and people born abroad with at least one U.S. citizen parent. (See also "Citizenship Status.")

Foreign Born
The foreign-born population includes anyone who was not a U.S. citizen at birth. This includes respondents who indicated they were a U.S. citizen by naturalization or not a U.S. citizen. (See also "Citizenship Status.")

The foreign-born population is shown by selected area, country, or region of birth. The places of birth shown in data products were chosen based on the number of respondents who reported that area or country of birth.

Question/Concept History

The 1996-1998 American Community Survey question asked respondents to write in the U.S. state, territory, commonwealth or foreign country where this person was born. Beginning in 1999, the question asked "Where was this person born?" and provided two check-boxes, each with a write-in space.

Limitation of the Data

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

Comparability

This data source is comparable to the decennial censuses.
See the 2012 Code List on the ACS website (http://www.census.gov/acs) for Place of Birth Code List.

Excerpt from: Social Explorer; U.S. Census Bureau; American Community Survey 2012 3yr 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 3yr 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 3yr Summary File: Technical Documentation.
 
American Indian or Alaska Native
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment. This category includes people who indicate their race as "American Indian or Alaska Native" or report entries such as Navajo, Blackfeet, Inupiat, Yup'ik, or Central American Indian groups, or South American Indian groups.

Respondents who identified themselves as "American Indian or Alaska Native" were asked to report their enrolled or principal tribe. Therefore, tribal data in tabulations reflect the written entries reported on the questionnaires. Some of the entries (for example, Metlakatla Indian Community and Umatilla) represent reservations or a confederation of tribes on a reservation. The information on tribe is based on self-identification and, therefore, does not reflect any designation of federally or state-recognized tribe. The information for the 2012 ACS Detail Race tables were derived from the American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Classification List for the 2010 Census, which was updated through 2009 based on the annual Federal Register notice entitled "Indian Entities Recognized and Eligible to Receive Services From the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs," Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, issued by OMB, and through consultation with American Indian and Alaska Native communities and leaders.

The American Indian categories shown in the 2012 ACS Detailed Race tables represent tribal groupings, which refer to the combining of individual American Indian tribes, such as Fort Sill Apache, Mescalero Apache, and San Carlos Apache, into the general Apache tribal grouping.

The Alaska Native categories shown in the 2012 ACS Detailed Race tables represent tribal groupings, which refer to the combining of individual Alaska Native tribes, such as King Salmon Tribe, Native Village of Kanatak, and Sun'aq Tribe of Kodiak, into the general Aleut tribal grouping.

All Other American Indian Tribes (with only one tribe reported)
Includes respondents who provide a response of another American Indian tribe not shown
separately, such as Abenaki, Catawba, Eastern Tribes, Kickapoo, Mattaponi, Quapaw, Shawnee, or Yuchi.

American Indian Tribes, not specified
Includes people who provide a generic term such as "American Indian" or tribal groupings not elsewhere classified.

Alaska Native Tribes, not specified
Includes people who provide a generic term such as "Alaska Indian" or "Alaska Native" or tribal groupings not elsewhere classified.

American Indian Tribes or Alaska Native Tribes, not specified
Includes respondents who checked the American Indian or Alaska Native response category on the ACS questionnaire and did not write in a specific group or wrote in a generic term such as "American Indian or Alaska Native."

Two or more American Indian or Alaska Native Tribes
Includes respondents who provided multiple American Indian or Alaska Native Tribes responses such as Blackfeet and Pueblo; or Alaskan Athabascan and Tlingit-Haida; or Paiute and Aleut.