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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 3,625,639 76.70% 3,453,547 69.19%
Spanish 560,298 11.85% 879,996 17.63%
Other Indo-European* 385,243 8.15% 439,325 8.80%
Asian Language** 115,453 2.44% 158,034 3.17%
Other 40,197 0.85% 60,408 1.21%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,726,830 100.00% 4,991,310 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 471,410 53.57%
Other Indo-European* 195,391 44.48%
Asian Language** 75,913 48.04%
Other Language 19,712 32.63%
Total 762,426 15.28%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 293,748 52.43%
Other Indo-European* 149,081 38.70%
Asian Language** 58,252 50.46%
Other Language 13,410 33.36%
Total 514,491 10.88%

* "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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