The Census Bureau released a report in August on “Language Use in the United States”. Based on the 2011 American Community Survey findings, the report found that the share of residents aged 5 and older who speak a language other than English at home continues to rise. Data in the report show the share speaking other than English at home has risen from 11 percent in 1980 to 20.8 percent in 2011.
The state data in the report identify where there are concentrations of residents who speak other than English at home. California tops the list at 43.8 percent, followed by New Mexico (36.5%), Texas (34.7%), New Jersey (30.4%), New York (30.1%), Nevada (29.7%), and Arizona (27%).
Other data on where there are concentrations of residents who report they speak English “not well” or “not at all” point to likely concentrations of illegal alien workers: Mississippi (27.4%), Nebraska (26.5%), Alabama (25.5%), California (25%), Oklahoma (23.9%), Texas (23.7%), Georgia (23.5%), Oregon (23.2%).
The importance of these data, other than document the weakening of English as the lingua franca of the country, is pointed to in the following comment in the report:
“The federal government uses data on language use and English-speaking ability to determine which local areas must provide language-assistance services under the Voting Rights Act. These data are also used to allocate educational funds to states to help their schools teach students with lower levels of English proficiency. In 2000, President Clinton signed an executive order requiring federal agencies to identify the need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP) and to implement a system to provide meaningful access to language-assistance services. Agencies rely on these data to determine how and where to provide language-assistance services.” (http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acs-22.pdf)