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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 2,066,827 93.74% 2,186,886 91.60%
Spanish 35,284 1.60% 61,312 2.57%
Other Indo-European* 70,714 3.21% 80,778 3.38%
Asian Language** 24,760 1.12% 42,252 1.77%
Other 7,292 0.33% 16,116 0.68%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,204,877 100.00% 2,387,344 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 22,787 37.17%
Other Indo-European* 24,726 30.61%
Asian Language** 20,901 49.47%
Other Language 3,416 21.20%
Total 71,830 3.01%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,047 34.14%
Other Indo-European* 21,016 29.72%
Asian Language** 12,538 50.64%
Other Language 1,668 22.87%
Total 47,269 2.14%

* "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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