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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 686,458 84.70% 837,066 78.28%
Spanish 58,588 7.23% 127,084 11.89%
Other Indo-European* 53,954 6.66% 85,054 7.95%
Asian Language** 4,870 0.60% 9,962 0.93%
Other 6,603 0.81% 10,091 0.94%
Total Population Age 5+ 810,473 100.00% 1,069,257 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 62,359 49.07%
Other Indo-European* 33,266 39.11%
Asian Language** 4,735 47.53%
Other Language 3,464 34.33%
Total 103,824 9.71%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 26,643 45.48%
Other Indo-European* 19,534 36.20%
Asian Language** 2,402 49.32%
Other Language 2,575 39.00%
Total 51,154 6.31%

* "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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