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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 4,570,494 96.25% 4,961,741 94.94%
Spanish 59,585 1.25% 110,752 2.12%
Other Indo-European* 85,406 1.80% 97,816 1.87%
Asian Language** 26,394 0.56% 41,970 0.80%
Other 6,825 0.14% 13,743 0.26%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,748,704 100.00% 5,226,022 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 45,990 41.53%
Other Indo-European* 31,383 32.08%
Asian Language** 21,210 50.54%
Other Language 4,436 32.28%
Total 103,019 1.97%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 20,962 35.18%
Other Indo-European* 27,154 31.79%
Asian Language** 12,852 48.69%
Other Language 1,970 28.86%
Total 62,938 1.33%

* "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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