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graphical representation of people in the community speaking different languages

We ask questions about whether a person speaks a language other than English at home, what language he/she speaks, and how well he/she speaks English to create statistics about language and the ability to speak English.

Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use language data to plan government programs for adults and children who do not speak English well. These data are also used to ensure that information about public health, law, regulations, voting, and safety is communicated in languages that community members understand.

Your privacy concerns

We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.

Question as it appears on the form

We ask one question about whether people speak a language other than English at home, what language they speak, and how well they speak English to create a profile of the languages spoken in communities.

Results from this question

The results from this question are compiled to provide communities with important statistics about language. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.

United States

View Results for a State

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Language spoken at home data help communities:

Understand Changes

Researchers, advocacy groups, and policymakers are interested in knowing whether people who speak languages other than English have the same opportunities in education, employment, voting, home ownership, and many other areas. For example, language data are used with age and ancestry data to address language and cultural diversity needs in health care plans for the older population.

History of language spoken at home question

The language spoken at home question originated with the 1890 Census. It was transferred to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form.

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