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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 3,348,473 97.48% 3,627,757 96.07%
Spanish 31,293 0.91% 70,061 1.86%
Other Indo-European* 39,316 1.14% 51,025 1.35%
Asian Language** 12,294 0.36% 21,031 0.56%
Other 3,579 0.10% 6,356 0.17%
Total Population Age 5+ 3,434,955 100.00% 3,776,230 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 30,842 44.02%
Other Indo-European* 15,307 30.00%
Asian Language** 10,794 51.32%
Other Language 1,928 30.33%
Total 58,871 1.56%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 10,890 34.80%
Other Indo-European* 11,372 28.92%
Asian Language** 6,135 49.90%
Other Language 1,026 28.67%
Total 29,423 0.86%

* "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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