V-08d: Where English-Speaking Adults Who Are Fluent in Another Language Acquired the Non-English Language, 2006

* Adults are defined as people age 18 or older. Fluent is defined as speaking the non-English language “well” or “very well.”

Source: NORC at the University of Chicago, 2006 General Social Survey. Data analyzed and presented by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (

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-08a). The focus of the GSS is respondents’ proficiency in a language other than English, and thus the survey does 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. 

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