Language Crucial to Accurate Census

In recognition of the fact that limited-English proficient
households are traditionally underrepresented in census reporting, the federal
government is planning to officially collect Census 2020 responses in six new
language options—Arabic, French, Haitian Creole, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese,
and Tagalog.
These languages are in addition to English, Chinese, Korean,
Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese which were available ten years ago, but paper
forms will only be available in English and Spanish.
For the 2020 count, the census bureau is accepting responses
in languages spoken in around 60,000 or more households with limited English
skills. Paper forms will be available in English and in Spanish, while the
bureau collects responses in the other 11 languages online and by phone. In
addition, video and printed guides will be available in 59
non-English languages, and there will be a video in American Sign Language, plus
a printed guide in Braille.
In addition to making the count more
accurate, offering multiple language options should also cut the number of
census workers needed to collect information, however, concerns remain that speakers
of languages other than English will continue to be among the most likely to be
excluded from census figures.
Language Magazine is calling on language educators to help ensure that limited-English speakers take part in the census with the campaign Count On Me! — Campaign for an Accurate 2020 Census. Educators are trusted by limited-English-speaking minorities, making them the ideal messengers.
Language Magazine is
producing guides to help teachers explain the importance of taking part in
Census 2020 and the guarantee that the information will not be shared.
For more information, visit


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