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Philadelphia, PA-NJ

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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 4,116,508 90.18% 4,187,688 87.74%
Spanish 151,521 3.32% 224,517 4.70%
Other Indo-European* 212,889 4.66% 218,025 4.57%
Asian Language** 66,750 1.46% 115,231 2.41%
Other 17,191 0.38% 27,267 0.57%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,564,859 100.00% 4,772,728 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 91,315 40.67%
Other Indo-European* 74,798 34.31%
Asian Language** 62,543 54.28%
Other Language 7,970 29.23%
Total 236,626 4.96%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 63,641 42.00%
Other Indo-European* 69,375 32.59%
Asian Language** 36,335 54.43%
Other Language 4,970 28.91%
Total 174,321 3.82%

* "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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