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Salem, OR

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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 231,579 89.85% 263,934 82.20%
Spanish 15,674 6.08% 43,005 13.39%
Other Indo-European* 6,850 2.66% 8,532 2.66%
Asian Language** 3,113 1.21% 4,730 1.47%
Other 521 0.20% 887 0.28%
Total Population Age 5+ 257,737 100.00% 321,088 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 25,678 59.71%
Other Indo-European* 3,441 40.33%
Asian Language** 2,568 54.29%
Other Language 340 38.33%
Total 32,027 9.97%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 7,302 46.59%
Other Indo-European* 2,392 34.92%
Asian Language** 1,710 54.93%
Other Language 165 31.67%
Total 11,569 4.49%

* "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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