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This report shows the number and percent of people 5-years old and over who speak a language other than English. The age is limited to 5 and over to account for the time it takes young children to learn to speak consistently. This report does not take into account whether the foreign language speakers were born in the United States or elsewhere.

The federal government uses data on language use and English-speaking ability to determine which local areas must provide language-assistance services under the Voting Rights Act. These data are also used to allocate educational funds to states to help their schools teach students with lower levels of English proficiency.

  • The Census Bureau uses the following language categories in Table B16007:

    • Only English
    • Spanish
    • Other Indo-European languages
    • Asian and Pacific Island languages
    • Other languages

This report uses data from the United States Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), an ongoing, national survey. The ACS replaces the Decennial Census “long form” and is now the only source for Census Bureau data on topics such as ancestry, educational attainment, income, spoken languages, migration, disability, employment, and housing features.

Vermont Insights uses 5-year ACS estimates to increase the reliability of the data for all geographic areas.

For more information on the ACS, including sampling and response rates for Vermont, see:

In order to calculate the percentage of people over 5 who speak a foreign language an aggregate numerator of 12 variables representing foreign language speakers over 5 was divided by a denominator of all people over 5.

For complete information on the limitations of ACS data, go to

Some considerations when using and interpreting the ACS data include:

ACS estimates represent the conditions that might have been present at any time within the estimate time period. ACS estimates should only be compared with like estimates. For example, 1-year data can only be compared with other 1-year data and cannot be compared with 3- or 5-year data.

If using the ACS for longitudinal analysis (comparisons over time), multi-year estimates should not overlap.