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Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives
Indicator 5.2: Language

Figure 5.2. Percentage distribution of 8th-grade public school students who report that people in their home speak a language other than English, by frequency of other language spoken and race/ethnicity: 2003
Percentage distribution of 8th-grade public school students who report that people in their home speak a language other than English, by frequency of other language spoken and race/ethnicity: 2003
NOTE: Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Reading Assessment, 2003.

The majority of American Indian/Alaska Native public school 8th-graders come from homes in which English is the predominant spoken language.

In 2003, 51 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native public school 8th-graders reported living in homes where no other language besides English was spoken. Twenty-seven percent of American Indian/Alaska Native public school 8th-graders reported a language other than English was spoken once in a while, and 22 percent reported a language other than English was spoken at least half the time at home. The percentage of American Indians/Alaska Natives who reported that people in their homes never speak a language other than English was 51 percent, compared to 9 percent for Hispanics and 11 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders. American Indians/Alaska Natives were less likely than Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders (11 percent vs. 47 and 49 percent, respectively), but more likely than Blacks (7 percent) and Whites (3 percent) to report that people in their homes speak a language other than English all or most of the time.

In 2000, the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native students who qualified for limited English proficient (LEP) services (11 percent) was smaller than the percentage for Hispanics (36 percent) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (23 percent), but higher than the percentage for White and Black students (both 1 percent). American Indian/Alaska Native students who speak a language other than English may speak a tribal language (Krauss 1996). Currently, there are about 175 American Indian/Alaska Native tribal languages, many of which are disappearing as their speakers become assimilated into English-speaking communities.

View Table View Table 5.2a

View Table View Table 5.2b



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