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Maps of low income, LEP speakers in Massachusetts

What does LEP stand for?

A Limited English Proficient (LEP) speaker is an individual who speaks English "less than very well". Based on US Census definitions this includes speaking English "well", "not well" and "not at all".

What maps do we produce?

Each year we create the following Massachusetts maps:

  • Low income LEP maps – For a given Federal Poverty Level (FPL) (e.g. 200% FPL):
    • Map 1 displays how many people below that FPL level live in each Public Use Microdata Area (PUMA), and
    • Map 2 displays how many LEP speakers below that FPL level live in each PUMA area, i.e. how many of those low income population are LEP speakers.
  • Language specific Low Income LEP maps - To illustrate the geographic distribution of Massachusetts LEP speakers that live below 200% of FPL, we create individual maps for the 6 most common LEP languages.
Where do we get data from?

We use the most recent American Community Survey data available on the US Census website. The current maps are based on ACS one year Public Use Microdata Sample data as of 2017.

High level summary

State poverty vs LEP poverty (<=200% FPL) :

  2013* 2017
  Population/Percentage Population/Percentage
MA State
State Poverty
1,635,906 / 24.44%
1,500,213 / 21.87%
State LEP
State LEP Poverty
271,857 / 48.08%
271,762 / 43.13%

*The first year we did this analysis.

LEP Low Income (<=200% FPL) Population breakdown by language:

Language # of Low Income LEP Speakers % of Low Income LEP Speakers
Spanish 128,803 47.40%
Chinese 31,104 11.45%
Portuguese 27,875 10.26%
Haitian 15,694 5.77%
Vietnamese 12,075 4.44%
Arabic* 9,127 3.36%
Total top 6 languages 224,678 82.68%
Others (not mapped) 47,084 17.33%
Grand total 271,762 100.00%

* First time inclusion.


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