This report presents data on the frequency and percentage of the U.S. population aged 5 and over who spoke a Native North American language at home.1 The data are based on 5-year estimates from the 2006–2010 American Community Survey (ACS) and the 2006–2010 Puerto Rico Community Survey. For the first time ever, this aggregation of ACS data over a 5-year period allows us to study small segments of the population, such as speakers of Native North American languages.
These data come from a multipart question addressing language ability. The first part of the question asks “Does this person speak a language other than English at home?” Respondents who answer “Yes” are then asked to write in the name of that language. Data on language ability is used to meet the communication needs of hospitals, schools, and other agencies that serve non-English speakers. In addition, language use data are used for bilingual ballot provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Respondents are also asked to report the one or more race groups they consider themselves to be. Part of this report focuses on people who identify themselves as American Indian or Alaska Native alone or in combination with other races.
1 For the purposes of this brief, “Native North American languages” does not include languages native to Hawaii, Central America, or South America. For more information on uses of these and other languages in the United States, go to <www.census.gov/topics/population/language-use/data.html>.