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Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Limited English Proficient (LEP) Data and Mapping Tools

The LEP Mapping Tools include static and interactive maps of the LEP population. This includes:

  • The Civil Rights Division’s Language Map App, an interactive mapping tool that helps users find the concentration of and languages spoken by LEP individuals at the state or county level;
  • National and state-level LEP population maps (by number and percent);
  • County and judicial district-level LEP population maps (by number and percent);
  • National Spanish Language Maps; and,
  • Asian and Pacific Islander National Language Maps

Use the Civil Rights Division’s Language Map App to find the concentration of and languages spoken by LEP individuals in a community. Select your state or county to identify the number or percentage of LEP persons, download language data, or visually display the maps for presentations. An accessible version of the Language Map App is available here.

You may view the top five languages that LEP individuals speak at the state, county and judicial district level by selecting the appropriate dropdown menu on the LEP Mapping Tools, available here. You can choose to represent the top five languages spoken by LEP individuals with a visual map and pie-chart, or a description of the map identifying the top five languages. For more detailed information about languages spoken by LEP individuals beyond the top five, use the Civil Rights Division’s Language Map App.

In many areas of the country, Spanish-speakers form the predominant LEP community. To view the number of Spanish-speaking LEP individuals in your community, use the National Spanish Language Maps/Mapas Nacionales del idioma Español, an LEP Mapping Tool. Click here and scroll down to the National Spanish Language Maps/Mapas Nacionales del idioma Español to select a dataset for the map. You can choose to represent the number or percent of Spanish-speaking LEP individuals with a visual map and pie-chart, or a description of the map.

The LEP Mapping Tools use information from the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey (ACS). We use the ACS definition of LEP individuals as the population 5 years or older who self-identify as speaking English less than “very well” Current map data come from the U.S. Census 2008-2012 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimate data. We plan to update our data as resources permit. Click here for more information about how the Census and the American Community Survey collects data on language use and English-speaking ability, including the creation of language groups and categories. For more information on the underlying language data, including margins of error, see U.S. Census Bureau - ACS 2012 Table: B16001 5-Year Estimate Language Spoken At Home By Ability To Speak English For The Population 5 Years And Over.

The LEP Mapping Tools can be used by any individual or agency. The tools are provided exclusively for informational purposes and we hope that individuals and agencies will use these tools to overcome language barriers. For example:

  • A federal, state, county, or local agency could use county-level maps to identify target languages LEP communities speak when translating notices or hiring interpreters for an outreach event. 
  • While conducting a state-wide investigation, a civil rights office could use our map to determine which counties are most likely to contain LEP complainants.
  • After reviewing county-level maps, a local benefits office could decide to translate forms and install notices regarding the availability of language assistance services after realizing that their county contains a large community of potential LEP beneficiaries.
  • With improved understanding of the languages LEP individuals speak in its district, a U.S. Attorney’s office could enhance efforts to reach potential LEP victims and witnesses in a case by translating press releases into the district’s top five languages.
  • A county transit agency, realizing that a neighboring county transit agency has a similar LEP population, could work with the neighboring county to share translated transit resources and plans to provide meaningful access to LEP commuters.