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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 9,086,726 85.84% 9,326,786 80.77%
Spanish 728,380 6.88% 1,253,676 10.86%
Other Indo-European* 552,968 5.22% 640,237 5.54%
Asian Language** 166,773 1.58% 248,800 2.15%
Other 50,991 0.48% 78,006 0.68%
Total Population Age 5+ 10,585,838 100.00% 11,547,505 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 665,995 53.12%
Other Indo-European* 253,352 39.57%
Asian Language** 111,065 44.64%
Other Language 24,310 31.16%
Total 1,054,722 9.13%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 366,999 50.39%
Other Indo-European* 194,218 35.12%
Asian Language** 80,425 48.22%
Other Language 16,341 32.05%
Total 657,983 6.22%

* "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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