Factfinder, ACS, language spoken at home

Question about s1601, Language spoken at home: If, for NY State, the one year ACS for 2016, s1601, shows that 69% speak only English (using the column titles), can we say that 31% live in households where English was not the only language spoken?

 Here is why I am not sure whether this is correct

 The above statement, the second part, implies that people in the household speak some other language AND speak English. But is that what the table is saying?

 

Down the column, cell titles are

 Population 5 years and over

Speaks only English

Speaks a language other than English

 

Does this last cell title mean

[speaks a language other than English AND speaks English],

or

[ONLY speaks a language other than English]?

 

Across the rows, the cell titles are [Speaks English only or speaks English “very well”] and [Speak English less than “very well”]. Does this last group allow not speaks English at all?

 

So basically, are there these categories?

 

Speaks English only

Speaks English and some other language

Speaks only some other language

  

Or are the categories only

Speaks English only

[Speaks English and some other language] or [speaks only some other language]

 

 See where I am confused?

  

Thanks

 

Gene

  • Just for easy reference, here's a link to the page under discussion.

     

    Your first question was about this section of the table:

    Speak a language other than English includes people who speak no English and people who speak English and any other languages.

    Then, further to the right,

    The header "Percent of specified language speakers" indicates a different "universe" for those columns. You'll note that

    Speak English only or speak English "very well"

    and

    Speak English less than "very well"

    together add up to 100% of

    Speak a language other than English

     

    In short, there's no distinction made here between "speak English less than 'very well'" and "doesn't speak English at all"

    The question as asked in the ACS allows for more nuance:

    These ACS tables get down to that granularity:

    • B16004   | Age by Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over
    • B16005   | Nativity by Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over
    • B16006   | Language Spoken at Home by Ability to Speak English for the Population 5 Years and Over (Hispanic or Latino)

     

  • In reply to Joe Germuska:

    OK, it just hit me now that it's weird to include "speak English only" in the header for the section which has values that total up to only the subgroup which explicitly speaks a language other than English. But I'd write that off to an editing mistake, because again, if you total up the values, they clearly sum to the total population that doesn't speak English only.
  • In reply to Joe Germuska:

    Not that it helps the discussion, but it looks a bit at odds with reality to assume that there is only *one* other language spoken at home. I have plenty of friends with trilingual households, where mom and dad are immigrants from different countries (Portugal and China; Finland and Ecuador; France and Ukraine are some of the actual examples), so they speak to their kids in their native tongue, and kids pick up English in daycare. Maybe the Census measurement people could chime in on that.