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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 2,483,135 96.11% 2,578,477 94.16%
Spanish 31,620 1.22% 79,491 2.90%
Other Indo-European* 49,541 1.92% 49,032 1.79%
Asian Language** 15,381 0.60% 25,335 0.93%
Other 3,849 0.15% 6,164 0.23%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,583,526 100.00% 2,738,499 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 36,606 46.05%
Other Indo-European* 15,651 31.92%
Asian Language** 13,606 53.70%
Other Language 2,245 36.42%
Total 68,108 2.49%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 11,114 35.15%
Other Indo-European* 14,332 28.93%
Asian Language** 8,995 58.48%
Other Language 966 25.10%
Total 35,407 1.37%

* "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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