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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 575,393 93.15% 662,845 90.51%
Spanish 15,302 2.48% 34,690 4.74%
Other Indo-European* 20,517 3.32% 22,584 3.08%
Asian Language** 5,073 0.82% 9,359 1.28%
Other 1,435 0.23% 2,900 0.40%
Total Population Age 5+ 617,720 100.00% 732,378 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 17,116 49.34%
Other Indo-European* 6,411 28.39%
Asian Language** 4,201 44.89%
Other Language 652 22.48%
Total 28,380 3.88%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 5,855 38.26%
Other Indo-European* 6,120 29.83%
Asian Language** 2,223 43.82%
Other Language 371 25.85%
Total 14,569 2.36%

* "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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