This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released a new set of language data that highlights at least 350 languages spoken in the United States. For anyone seeking detailed data of languages spoken in their area, this release offers unprecedented proof of the linguistic diversity across the U.S. A look at the 15 Largest Metro Areas is striking view of the tip of the iceberg.
The data sets provide “Language Spoken at Home” data on four geographic levels:
In addition to counting the number of people who speak each language, the data sets include a count of the people who “Speak English less than ‘Very Well’” within each group. That is the most common definition of Limited English Proficiency (LEP) and frequently guides business and government planning decisions. LEP data will highlight the limitations of English-only communication and whether your message will be understood, or whether interpretation or translation may be required.
This data offers a wealth of information for planners and managers in the private sector, health care and government to help manage day-to-day operations as well as plan for emergencies. For practical purposes, the new data could:
There is a lot to digest in the latest data release and much more to think about for individuals and organizations alike. This information is not all- inclusive and does not cover every region of the country. What it does clearly demonstrate though is the reality of language diversity in the U.S. right now—which is a great asset when planning for communication tomorrow.
To learn more about this data release, download the individual files:
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