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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 5,699,642 95.25% 6,843,038 90.11%
Spanish 122,295 2.04% 426,115 5.61%
Other Indo-European* 97,509 1.63% 168,629 2.22%
Asian Language** 51,255 0.86% 116,456 1.53%
Other 13,487 0.23% 40,238 0.53%
Total Population Age 5+ 5,984,188 100.00% 7,594,476 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 246,269 57.79%
Other Indo-European* 52,754 31.28%
Asian Language** 63,320 54.37%
Other Language 11,908 29.59%
Total 374,251 4.93%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 50,054 40.93%
Other Indo-European* 26,991 27.68%
Asian Language** 28,750 56.09%
Other Language 3,255 24.13%
Total 109,050 1.82%

* "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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