Official English Facts
- 31 states have some form of official English legislation on the books.
- Only 9 states offer driver's license exams exclusively in English, but only one state (Oklahoma) out of those 9 has a law requiring English proficiency in order to obtain a driver’s license.
- In 2000, 21.3 million U.S. residents met the definition of limited English proficient (LEP) set by the U.S. Census, meaning that they spoke English “less than very well.” Of these, 11 million spoke English “not well” or “not at all.” (Census 2000)
- Ninety-two percent of the world’s countries have at least one official language. (2002 World Almanac, 2001 U.S. Bureau of the Census Estimates)
- In 2000, 11.9 million U.S. residents lived in linguistically isolated households, meaning that no one living in the household spoke English at home or spoke it “very well.” (Census 2000)
- There are 322 languages spoken at home in the United States. (Census 2000)
- Foreign-born workers with moderate to high levels of English proficiency had higher earnings than native-born workers with the same degree of English proficiency. The National Adult Literacy Survey found that immigrants with a low degree of English proficiency earned ½ of what those with a medium degree of proficiency earned and less than 1/3 of highly English proficient immigrants. (Education Testing Services, A Human Capital Concern: The Literacy Proficiency of U.S. Immigrants, March 2004)
- The U.S. Department of Education found that those with limited English proficiency are less likely to be employed, less likely to be employed for a continuous period, tend to work in the least desirable sectors and earn less than those that speak English. (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Educational Statistics; English Literacy and Language Minorities in the United States, August 2001)
- California has the most languages spoken at home of any state with 207. New York is second with 169, followed by Washington, Texas and Oregon. Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Arizona round out the top 10 states. (Census 2000)
- It costs $1.86 million annually to prepare written translations for food stamp recipients nationwide. The cost of oral translations is $21 million nationally per year. (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Report to Congress: Assessment of Total Benefits and Costs of Implementing Executive Order No. 13166: Improving Access to Services for Person with Limited English Proficiency, March 14, 2002)
- Nearly two-in-three foreign born adults say that the United States should expect all immigrants to learn English. (Public Agenda Survey of 1,002 foreign born adults, 2002)
- Of the 3,600 Chinese ballots prepared for the September 2002 primary election in King County, Washington, only 24 were used. (Warren Cornwall, Bilingual vote turnout low: Only 24 Chinese ballots returned in primary, Seattle Times, October 9, 2002)
Follow us on Twitter
English in the News
Puerto Rico's Governor Speaks the Truth About Statehood VoteGov. Alejandro Garcia-PadillaRead More...
May 20, 2013
Last November my administration was tasked with tackling the many challenges facing Puerto Rico, including, rampant crime,...
Brand New Poll Shows 84% Want Official English for the USARasmussen ReportsRead More...
May 14, 2013
Most Americans still strongly support making English the nation’s official language and don't think they're prejudiced for feeling that way. A new...
Latest Action Alerts
May 21, 2013
May 16, 2013
May 15, 2013
Current immigration package lacks official English provision or any English requirement!