February 27, 2013
The Latest Limited Enflish Language Proficiency Data
The Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy has compiled new, national, state-, and county-level data on the number, share, and linguistic diversity of Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals in the United States.
Today, 25.2 million individuals over the age of 5 in the United States (9 percent of the total population) have limited proficiency in English, compared with 14 million (6 percent of the total population) in 1990. This growth has been accompanied by a broad-ranging dispersal of immigrants and refugees to dozens of states and hundreds of counties across the United States.
The county-level data shows this geographic spread and offer two different counts — as a percentage of the total county population as well as in absolute numbers — of the number and principal languages of LEP individuals across 3,221 counties in the United States (including Puerto Rico). The analysis shows that in 1,323 counties, or 41 percent of all counties in our data, there were at least 500 LEP individuals speaking a single language – Spanish, for example. Further, the data show that of the 3,221 counties in our analysis, 18 percent (or 572) had at least one LEP population (speaking a single language) that constituted 5 percent or more of the overall population.
The National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy compiled this data to assist the array of stakeholders who are working to address language access issues at the county level. Find out about the available data at the Language Portal.
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