(CNSNews.com) - In California--which with a July 2016 population of 39,250,017 is the nation’s most populous state--44.6 percent of the people five years of age and older do not speak English at home, according to data released this week by the Census Bureau.
At the same time, according to the Census Bureau, 18.6 percent of California residents 5 and older do not speak English “very well.”
That ranks California No.1 among the states for the percentage of people in both of these categories.
Nationwide, 21.6 percent speak a language other than English at home and 8.6 percent speak English less than very well.
Texas ranked second for the percentage of residents five and older who do not speak English at home (35.6 percent). New Mexico ranked third (34.5 percent); New Jersey ranked fourth (31.7 percent) and New York ranked fifth (31.0 percent).
States Ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau by the Percentage of People 5 and Older Who Speak a Language Other Than English at Home:
West Virginia had the smallest percentage of residents (2.5 percent) who spoke a language other than English at home. Montana had the second smallest (3.7 percent); Mississippi had the third smallest (3.8 percent); Alabama, the fourth (5.1 percent); and North Dakota the fifth (5.2 percent).
The Census Bureau asks about the language people speak in their homes and how well they speak English in its American Community Survey. The numbers released this week were for the 2016 survey.
“We ask one question about whether people speak a language other than English at home, what language they speak, and how well they speak English to create a profile of the languages spoken in communities,” says the Census Bureau on its website.
The first question on language the Census Bureau asks respondents is a yes-no question: “Does this person speak a language other than English at home?”
If the answer is “yes,” there are two follow up questions: “What is this language?” “How well does this person speak English?” For this last question, respondents have the option to answer: very well, well, not well, or not at all.
The percentages of those who fall into each category, as published by the Census Bureau, apply only to “people 5 years and over.”
In addition to leading the nation with the percentage of residents 5 or older who speak a language other than English at home, California also led the nation for the percentage of people who, as the Census Bureau puts it, “speak English less than ‘very well.’”
In 2016, 18.6 percent of the people 5 or older in California spoke English less than very well.
Texas ranked second in this category (14.0 percent); New York was third (13.7 percent); New Jersey was fourth (12.6 percent), and Hawaii was fifth (12.2 percent).
Montana was the state with the smallest percentage of residents who could not speak English very well (0.7 percent). West Virginia had the second smallest (0.8 percent); Vermont, the third (1.3 percent); Mississippi, the fourth (1.4 percent); and Maine, the fifth (1.7 percent).
States Ranked by the U.S. Census Bureau by the Percentage of People 5 and Older Who Speak English Less Than Very Well:
California also led the nation for the percentage of residents (27.2 percent) who are foreign born.
New York was second (23.0 percent); New Jersey was third (22.5 percent); Florida was fourth (20.6 percent), and Nevada was fifth (20.0 percent).
The five states with the smallest percentage of foreign-born residents were: West Virginia (1.7 percent), Mississippi (2.0 percent), Montana (2.1 percent), Wyoming (3.2 percent) and North Dakota (3.2 percent).
Nationwide, according to the Census Bureau, 13.5 percent of the people are foreign born.