Interview language?


I am looking for ACS paradata on language of the interview (or, more broadly, the language in which the instrument was filled, given that ACS is being conducted in four modes now). Are such data available?


Stas Kolenikov



If by language you mean the English sentences used to ask the questions, IPUMS-USA links the questionnaire text and the enumeration/respondent instructions to each variable in the Data Selection menu where they are available. Complete documents can also be found on the Enumeration Forms page. These resources correspond to the mail version of the survey. The variableRESPMODE indicates how households responded to the survey, either by Mail or CATI/CAPI. IPUMS-USA does not provide the actual CATI/CAPI however.

If by language you mean surveys in languages other than English, the original PUMS data files released by the Census Bureau, upon which IPUMS-USA ACS data files are based, do not include indicators for language used in the interview. The Census Bureau does make both the English and Spanish questionnaires available in their Questionnaire Archive (and limited years have Chinese and Korean Language Assistance documents). In telephon and in-person interviews, many more languages are used. The IPUMS-USA variable LANGUAGE indicates the language spoken in the home, and could suggest the use of Language Assistance but this is not a perfect measure by any means. I would recommend contacting the Census Bureau directly to see if there is any data available on interview language. I hope this helps.