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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 4,440,633 54.58% 4,032,614 45.87%
Spanish 2,564,775 31.53% 3,330,935 37.89%
Other Indo-European* 380,612 4.68% 459,392 5.23%
Asian Language** 676,001 8.31% 875,515 9.96%
Other 73,380 0.90% 92,640 1.05%
Total Population Age 5+ 8,135,401 100.00% 8,791,096 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,845,364 55.40%
Other Indo-European* 183,686 39.98%
Asian Language** 482,637 55.13%
Other Language 30,818 33.27%
Total 2,542,505 28.92%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,496,461 58.35%
Other Indo-European* 145,600 38.25%
Asian Language** 379,921 56.20%
Other Language 23,866 32.52%
Total 2,045,848 25.15%

* "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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