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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 4,030,234 91.07% 4,322,329 87.41%
Spanish 122,871 2.78% 230,829 4.67%
Other Indo-European* 160,202 3.62% 198,932 4.02%
Asian Language** 84,160 1.90% 135,899 2.75%
Other 27,818 0.63% 57,054 1.15%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,425,285 100.00% 4,945,043 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 108,578 47.04%
Other Indo-European* 58,632 29.47%
Asian Language** 65,973 48.55%
Other Language 13,104 22.97%
Total 246,287 4.98%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 53,198 43.30%
Other Indo-European* 46,440 28.99%
Asian Language** 42,007 49.91%
Other Language 6,848 24.62%
Total 148,493 3.36%

* "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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