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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 42,689 92.51% 52,480 90.03%
Spanish 2,165 4.69% 4,164 7.14%
Other Indo-European* 844 1.83% 1,014 1.74%
Asian Language** 367 0.80% 527 0.90%
Other 82 0.18% 109 0.19%
Total Population Age 5+ 46,147 100.00% 58,294 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,363 56.75%
Other Indo-European* 263 25.94%
Asian Language** 265 50.28%
Other Language 39 35.78%
Total 2,930 5.03%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 789 36.44%
Other Indo-European* 127 15.05%
Asian Language** 213 58.04%
Other Language 13 15.85%
Total 1,142 2.47%

* "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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