Language Inquiries in U.S. Censuses, National Sample Surveys, and Other Collection Instruments

  • Jacob S. Siegel


This chapter sets forth the legal basis of the U.S. decennial census and the several U.S. national sample surveys, and gives an historical account of the questions on language use, proficiency in English, literacy, and the array of census and survey questions that may be employed to describe ethnicity in the United States.

References and Suggested Readings

  1. Chiswick, B. R. (1998). Census language questions in North America. Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, 25, 73–95.Google Scholar
  2. Stevens, G. (1999). A century of U.S. censuses and the language characteristics of immigrants. Demography, 36(3), 387–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Siegel, P., Martin, E.A., & Bruno, R. (2001). Language use and linguistic isolation: Historical data and methodological issues (pp. 167–190). In Statistical policy working paper 23: 2000 seminar on integrating federal statistical information and processes. Washington, DC: Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology, Office of Management and Budget.Google Scholar
  4. U.S. Census Bureau/J.G. Gauthier. (2002). Measuring America: The decennial census from 1790 to 2000. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  5. U.S. Census Bureau. (1983). Appendix B, 1980 census of population, general population characteristics, Part 1, “U.S. Summary.” PC 80 1–81. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  6. U.S. Census Bureau. (2003). Appendix B, 2000 census of population and housing. Summary: Social, economic, and housing, selected appendixes. PHC-2A.Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  7. U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Subjects planned for the 2010 census and American community survey: Federal legislative and program uses. United States Census 2010: Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  8. U.S. Census Bureau. (2014). Chapter 5: Content development process. In American community survey: Design and methodology. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacob S. Siegel
    • 1
  1. 1.North BethesdaUSA

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