Decatur, AL

LANGUAGE

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 119,581 97.58% 130,983 96.07%
Spanish 1,587 1.29% 3,863 2.83%
Other Indo-European* 1,120 0.91% 902 0.66%
Asian Language** 227 0.19% 438 0.32%
Other 35 0.03% 155 0.11%
Total Population Age 5+ 122,550 100.00% 136,341 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,367 61.27%
Other Indo-European* 260 28.82%
Asian Language** 220 50.23%
Other Language 88 56.77%
Total 2,935 2.15%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 590 37.18%
Other Indo-European* 295 26.34%
Asian Language** 56 24.67%
Other Language 12 34.29%
Total 953 0.78%

* "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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