Languages Spoken at Home and Census 2020

A 2015 report showed that there are at least 350 different languages spoken in homes across the U.S. As Census Bureau officials gear up for Census 2020, a key area of outreach involves educating and assisting respondents with limited English proficiency to complete the census questionnaire. The good news is that language support for the 2020 Census will be a significant expansion of the efforts from Census 2010. The internet instrument and census questionnaire will be available in 12 non-English languages, while language guides, language glossaries, and the language identification card will be available in 59 non-English languages. More information about language support in the 2020 census is available here.

To provide some local context, consider the following language statistics for the Portland, OR metropolitan area in 2013-2017:

  • Roughly 82% of Portland metro residents (1,835,000 of 2,240,000) only speak English at home;

  • Almost one-half million (405,000) Portland metro residents speak a language other than English. The top 5 spoken languages, other than English, in the Portland metro area include:

    • 1. Spanish (46%)

    • 2. Russian, Polish, or Other (10%)

    • 3. Other Asian or Pacific (9%)

    • 4. Other Indo-European (8%)

    • 5. Vietnamese (6%)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2013-2017 (Table C16001).

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), 2013-2017 (Table C16001).

Jason Jurjevich