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Memorandum 2018.06: 2020 Census Non-English Language Support

Memorandum 2018.06
Component ID: #ti1635925276

This memorandum documents the 2020 Census Program decision regarding the number of non-English languages that will be supported, and the level of support, during the 2020 Census operations.

Component ID: #ti1123036595

Overview

For the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau plans to provide the Internet Self-Response Instrument and Census Questionnaire Assistance in 12 non-English languages; enumerator instrument, bilingual paper questionnaire, bilingual mailing, and field enumeration materials in Spanish; and language guides, language glossaries, and language identification card in 59 non-English languages.

Component ID: #ti2045604953

Discussion

The Census Bureau determined the non-English languages by using the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates to identify language groups with a high number of limited-English speaking households. The definition of a “limited-English-speaking household,” as used in the current ACS estimates, is as follows: no member 14 years old and over speaks only English at home or speaks a language other than English at home and speaks English “very well.”

In determining the languages, the Census Bureau followed the process outlined below:

  1. Created tabulations of languages spoken by limited-English-speaking households, at the national, regional, and state levels.
  2. Transcribed to a list the languages spoken by at least 2,000 limited-English-speaking households, sorted by the number of limited-English-speaking households, in descending order.
  3. Assessed these languages for translation feasibility, to ensure that the Census Bureau is able to provide effectively translated materials.
  4. Added American Sign Language (ASL) to the list, to provide a video guide for ASL users.

This process yielded the languages below (in order—top to bottom, left to right). The Census Bureau will provide language guides, language glossaries, and a language identification card in these languages.

Component ID: #ti753217392

Spanish Haitian Creole Bengali Romanian Tamil Tigrinya Igbo
Chinese Portuguese Greek Telugu Navajo Ilocano Marathi
Vietnamese Japanese Amharic Burmese Hungarian Dutch Sinhala
Korean Italian Somali Punjabi Hebrew Croatian Slovak
Russian Farsi Thai Lao Malayalam Bulgarian American Sign Language
Arabic German Gjurati Hmong Swahili Twi  
Tagalog Armenian Khmer Albanian Yiddish Lithuanian  
Polish Hindi Nepali Turkish Indonesia Yoruba  
French Ukrainian Urdu Bosnian Serbian Czech  

Component ID: #ti1600419607

In determining the languages for Internet Self-Response and Census Questionnaire Assistance, the Census Bureau transcribed to a list the languages spoken by at least 60,000 limited-English-speaking households, sorted by the number of limited-English-speaking households, in descending order. This yielded the following 12 non-English languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Japanese.

The Census Bureau further determined that the field enumerator instrument and materials, bilingual paper questionnaire, and bilingual mailing will be supported in Spanish.

Component ID: #ti462658935

Decision

The Census Bureau will provide non-English instruments and materials in the following non-English languages for the 2020 Census:

Instrument/Material Non-English Language
Internet Self-Response Instrument
  • 12 Non-English Languages
    • Spanish, Chinese (Simplified), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Japanese
Census Questionnaire Assistance
  • 12 Non-English Languages
    • Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese), Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, Arabic, Tagalog, Polish, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Japanese
  • Includes Telecommunication Device for the Deaf
Enumerator Instrument, Bilingual Paper Questionnaire, Bilingual Mailing, Field Enumeration Materials
  • Spanish
Language Glossaries, Language Identification Card
  • 59 Non-English Languages
Language Guides (Video and Print)
  • 59 Non-English Languages
  • Includes American Sign Language, braille, and large print

Component ID: #ti751036930

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series

The 2020 Census Memorandum Series documents significant decisions, actions, and accomplishments of the 2020 Census Program for the purpose of informing stakeholders, coordinating interdivisional efforts, and documenting important historical changes.

A memorandum generally will be added to this series for any decision or documentation that meets the following criteria:

  1. A major program level decision that will affect the overall design or have significant effect on 2020 Census operations or systems.
  2. A major policy decision or change that will affect the overall design or significantly impact 2020 Census operations or systems.
  3. A report that documents the research and testing for 2020 Census operations or systems.


Visit 2020census.gov to access the Memorandum Series, the 2020 Census Operational Plan, and other information about preparations for the 2020 Census.

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