The share of people 5 and older in a geographic area who speak a language other than English at home. This includes both people who speak English well and those who do not.
Language diversity can indicate a growing bilingual or multilingual population, and it may also indicate a need for language instruction or bilingual services and communication.
In 2017-21, 28% of Essex County residents spoke a language other than English at home, up from 19% in 2000. This is higher than both the state rate (24%), which increased 5 percentage points since 2000, and the national rate (22%), up 4 points.
The City of Lawrence, at 80%, had the most language diversity, followed by the City of Lynn, at 51%. Their rates increased 16 points and 17 points, respectively, since 2000.
Essex County's language diversity rate was similar to Lake County, IL (29%) and Middlesex, MA (27%), and lower than Westchester, NY (34%). The rate of growth from 2000 to 2017-21 was highest in Essex County, with an increase of 9 percentage points followed by Lake County (8 points), Middlesex (7 points) and Westchester (5 points).
The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.