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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 542,725 86.40% 622,997 74.58%
Spanish 56,646 9.02% 144,579 17.31%
Other Indo-European* 19,038 3.03% 45,145 5.40%
Asian Language** 7,579 1.21% 17,449 2.09%
Other 2,172 0.35% 5,117 0.61%
Total Population Age 5+ 628,160 100.00% 835,287 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 59,817 41.37%
Other Indo-European* 17,092 37.86%
Asian Language** 8,731 50.04%
Other Language 1,629 31.84%
Total 87,269 10.45%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 23,973 42.32%
Other Indo-European* 5,895 30.96%
Asian Language** 3,663 48.33%
Other Language 575 26.47%
Total 34,106 5.43%

* "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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