V-08c: Percentage of English-Speaking Adults Who Report Speaking Another Language “Well” or “Very Well,” 2000–2014*

* Adults are defined as people age 18 or older.
Source: NORC at the University of Chicago, General Social Survey.

Data from the General Social Survey (GSS), administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, provide a somewhat different estimate of the extent of multilingualism in the United States than that based on U.S. Census Bureau data (see Indicator V-5a). The focus of the GSS is respondents’ proficiency in a language other than English, and thus the survey did not include questions about their proficiency in English. An advantage of GSS data, however, is that they capture the two key groups missed by the Census Bureau: those individuals who learned a language other than English outside the home; and those who learned the language at home as children but who now, while still fluent in the non-English language, speak only English in their own homes. The GSS data also reveal where those Americans who speak at least one language in addition to English developed their proficiency in the non-English language (see Indicator V-5d).

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