LEP Four Factor Analysis
Recipients are required to take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to their programs and activities by LEP persons. While designed to be a flexible and fact-dependent standard, the starting point is an individualized assessment that balances the following four factors:
- The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served or likely to be encountered by the program or grantee;
- the frequency with which LEP individuals come in contact with the program;
- the nature and importance of the program, activity, or service provided by the program to people's lives; and
- the resources available to the grantee/recipient or agency, and costs.
The following section will cover the first factor and where to draw your data from for this analysis. We will cover how to retrieve the appropriate information from American Fact Finder using the list process. If you are not familiar with American Fact Finder, please refer to that section for more detailed information on the census, how to use it for our programs, and how to use the map based method for selecting geographies.
U.S. Department of Justice LEP Guidance
U.S. Department of Transportation LEP Guidance
Download the FHWA Office of Civil Rights LEP Plugin for Microsoft Excel
Localizing the Results
It is important to note that following the steps outlined here can be done for a variety of different geographies. You could use this to get the LEP information for the State, County, and City Level as well as for individual tracts. This allows public agencies to target the particular project or program they are considering and tailor their language services to that particular community.
Using American Fact Finder for LEP
It is important to note that in this case, language data comes from the 5 year American Community Survey. This does not provide as detailed or as accurate information as the decennial census but it does include a great deal more information to review. When we are looking at projects we will be looking at the smallest geographies. In the decennial census, information is available at the block group and the block level, the two smallest geographies available in census files. For the American Community Survey, information is typically only available at the census tract level and above.
The table we will typically draw data from for doing this is B16001 from the 5 year American Community Survey. This table looks at the language spoken at home by ability to speak English for the population 5 years and over. The table includes a large number of languages and breaks down each by whether or not the person speaks English “very well” or not. What are we primarily interested in is the estimated total number of each language group who speaks English less than “very well.”
Step 1: Begin by going to American Fact Finder at https://factfinder.census.gov/ You should then click on ‘advanced search’ in the menu and under the topic or table name put in “B16001”, and click “GO.”
Step 2: After pressing Go, you will be taken to the following page. Check the box next to top result. Then click the geography button on the menu to the left (see next step)
Step 3: Use the drop down menu items on the pop-up to narrow your search. In our case, we will select “Census Tract -140,” “District of Columbia,” “District of Columbia,” and “All Census Tracts within District of Columbia, District of Columbia.” Then click “Add to Your Selections” at the bottom of the pop-up and then close it. Note: You can also the map under the geographies tab to select a region or study area.
Step 4: After adding to your selections you can proceed to close the ‘select geographies window’ window. Your page should then look like the one pictured below. Click on the first table in the search results.
Step 5: Now click on the download button under the actions menu toward the middle of your screen. Once you have selected to download the file, Please then make sure to select that you want to “use the data” and then make sure to unselect the ‘merge annotations’ box below it.
Finally you will have downloaded a zip file to your computer. Open the largest .csv file and it should look something like the image below.
The table includes a large number of languages and breaks down each by whether or not the person speaks English “very well” or not. What are we primarily interested in is the estimated total number of each language group who speaks English less than “very well.”
Let us look at a census tract that has a total population of 3200 and within it 364 persons who speak Spanish at home and speak English less than “very well.” In this tract 11.3% of people are LEP persons whose primary language is Spanish. We would then go thru the rest of the table and look at each language that has a presence within the area that we are studying.
You can download our LEP tool to make the process of analyzing this data here. Below is a gif summarizing how to download the census table as well as what our tool looks like in use.