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Detroit, MI

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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 3,610,208 91.57% 3,678,289 89.02%
Spanish 57,310 1.45% 98,928 2.39%
Other Indo-European* 189,798 4.81% 196,137 4.75%
Asian Language** 31,167 0.79% 56,921 1.38%
Other 54,240 1.38% 101,825 2.46%
Total Population Age 5+ 3,942,723 100.00% 4,132,100 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 42,558 43.02%
Other Indo-European* 68,697 35.03%
Asian Language** 24,803 43.57%
Other Language 41,818 41.07%
Total 177,876 4.30%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 19,067 33.27%
Other Indo-European* 59,880 31.55%
Asian Language** 14,509 46.55%
Other Language 20,764 38.28%
Total 114,220 2.90%

* "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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