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Polk County

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The Census asks questions about language use at home to locate groups of people who speak a language other than English. Their isolation or integration into a primarily English speaking community can be determined by their ability to speak English proficiently.

Language Spoken at Home, 1990-2000
1990 2000
Number Percent Number Percent
Only English 287,504 95.10% 315,689 91.13%
Spanish 4,801 1.59% 13,536 3.91%
Other Indo-European* 5,730 1.90% 8,721 2.52%
Asian Language** 3,877 1.28% 7,140 2.06%
Other 412 0.14% 1,335 0.39%
Total Population Age 5+ 302,324 100.00% 346,421 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 6,855 50.64%
Other Indo-European* 3,784 43.39%
Asian Language** 3,900 54.62%
Other Language 761 57.00%
Total 15,300 4.42%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,654 34.45%
Other Indo-European* 1,680 29.32%
Asian Language** 2,292 59.12%
Other Language 75 18.20%
Total 5,701 1.89%

* "Other Indo-European" excludes English and Spanish. "Indo-European" is not synonymous with "European." French, German, Hindi, and Persian are all classified as Indo-European. Hungarian, on the other hand, is lumped into "Other Language."

** "Asian Language" includes languages indigenous to Asia and Pacific islands areas that are not also Indo-European languages. Chinese, Japanese, Telugu, and Hawaiian are all classified here.

Also note that ability to speak English "very well" is based on the self-assessment of those responding to Census questions, not on a test of language ability.

Source: Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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