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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 2,312,289 97.20% 2,545,931 96.38%
Spanish 25,061 1.05% 50,515 1.91%
Other Indo-European* 25,162 1.06% 23,700 0.90%
Asian Language** 9,773 0.41% 13,558 0.51%
Other 6,520 0.27% 7,749 0.29%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,378,805 100.00% 2,641,453 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 20,856 41.29%
Other Indo-European* 5,805 24.49%
Asian Language** 6,303 46.49%
Other Language 3,095 39.94%
Total 36,059 1.37%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,890 35.47%
Other Indo-European* 7,781 30.92%
Asian Language** 4,451 45.54%
Other Language 3,390 51.99%
Total 24,512 1.03%

* "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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