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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 1,728,391 88.91% 1,915,032 84.75%
Spanish 116,242 5.98% 209,392 9.27%
Other Indo-European* 78,665 4.05% 94,050 4.16%
Asian Language** 14,864 0.76% 30,661 1.36%
Other 5,834 0.30% 10,527 0.47%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,943,996 100.00% 2,259,662 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 88,726 42.37%
Other Indo-European* 28,477 30.28%
Asian Language** 15,641 51.01%
Other Language 3,279 31.15%
Total 136,123 6.02%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 45,365 39.03%
Other Indo-European* 22,039 28.02%
Asian Language** 7,254 48.80%
Other Language 1,896 32.50%
Total 76,554 3.94%

* "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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