Why is this important

Understanding the linguistic environment within a community is essential for delivering accessible community services. Households with limited English proficiency often face barriers to accessing appropriate health care and suffer poorer health outcomes as a result.[i] San Francisco's Language Access Ordinance (LAO) requires all public-serving City Departments to inform all Limited English Proficient (LEP)* persons who seek services, in their native language, of their right to request interpretation or translation; to translate written materials and signs that provide important information about the Department's services or programs into the City's three most common non-English languages (Chinese, Filipino, and Spanish); and to provide access to staff that speak these languages.

How are we doing?

The American Community Survey (ACS) surveys residents on an annual basis; however, five years of aggregated data are necessary provide numbers at a census tract or neighborhood level. Here we are comparing data from the 2005-2009 and 2010-2014 ACS data sets. Between the two time periods, there were no significant changes in the percent of residents that had limited English proficiency citywide or in the CMTL area. The percentage of residents 5 years and older that have LEP is significantly higher in the CMTL than citywide. The most common non-English languages spoken at home were Spanish, Chinese, and Tagalog in both the CMTL boundary and citywide.

Dataset Source

American Community Survey, 2005-2009 & 2010-2014.

* The term Limited English Proficiency (LEP) refers to any person age 5 and older who reported speaking English less than "very well" on the American Community Survey.


[i] Flores, Glenn, and Sandra C. Tomany-Korman. “The Language Spoken at Home and Disparities in Medical and Dental Health, Access to Care, and Use of Services in US Children.” Pediatrics 121, no. 6 (June 1, 2008): e1703–14. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2906.