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English language proficiency, spoken

  • Mnemonic reference


  • Applicability


  • Type

    Primary variable


LANGPRF refers to how proficient people are in spoken English. People are asked to self-assess how well they can speak English and choose from the options 'Very well', 'Well', 'Not well' and 'Not at all'.


Total number of categories 5

Code Name
1 Very well
2 Well
3 Not well
4 Not well at all
X No code required - comprises schoolchildren and full-time students living away from home during term time.

Source question or variables

17: How well can you speak English?

  • Very well
  • Well
  • Not well
  • Not at all

Reason for asking

Information from this question (combined with other language questions) could potentially provide a baseline profile of language skills and needs. Identification of those with little or no English language ability will be crucial for service planning and provision and identification of areas for investment, as well as informing provision of literature and other communication. English proficiency can potentially be used also as a measure of integration. Information on other language use will allow translation services to be planned and targeted appropriately and provide further contextual information on ethnicity. Multivariate analysis with other Census variables may help identify disadvantage resulting from language ability.

Scotland (2001) comparison

England and Wales 2011

How well can you speak English?

  • Very well
  • Well
  • Not well
  • Not at all

Scotland 2001

There is no comparable question for 2001 as this question was asked for the first time in the 2011 census.