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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 2,158,011 94.25% 2,281,705 91.26%
Spanish 62,059 2.71% 137,247 5.49%
Other Indo-European* 44,110 1.93% 41,207 1.65%
Asian Language** 21,406 0.93% 33,203 1.33%
Other 4,029 0.18% 6,998 0.28%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,289,615 100.00% 2,500,360 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 67,973 49.53%
Other Indo-European* 10,778 26.16%
Asian Language** 17,412 52.44%
Other Language 2,044 29.21%
Total 98,207 3.93%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 23,574 37.99%
Other Indo-European* 11,580 26.25%
Asian Language** 11,925 55.71%
Other Language 1,263 31.35%
Total 48,342 2.11%

* "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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