English language proficiency, spoken

Mnemonic (reference code): LANGPRF

Note: This variable is also listed under the titles 'Proficiency in spoken English' and 'Language proficiency, spoken English'

Type: Primary variable

Definition: 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'.

Applicability: Person




Very well




Not well


Not at all


No code required

Total number of categories: 5

Not applicable category (X) comprises: Schoolchildren and full-time students living away from home during term time.

Source question:

Image of Scottish question 17 from 2011

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.

England  & Wales (2011) and Scotland (2001) comparisons:

Image of E & W question 17 2011

England and Wales (2011)

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


To see which of our published standard, additional and commissioned tables use this variable please use the Table Index.