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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 703,198 95.00% 803,031 94.77%
Spanish 8,083 1.09% 12,953 1.53%
Other Indo-European* 17,429 2.35% 17,978 2.12%
Asian Language** 2,412 0.33% 3,066 0.36%
Other 9,096 1.23% 10,334 1.22%
Total Population Age 5+ 740,218 100.00% 847,362 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,411 26.33%
Other Indo-European* 5,065 28.17%
Asian Language** 1,323 43.15%
Other Language 2,864 27.71%
Total 12,663 1.49%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,398 29.67%
Other Indo-European* 5,212 29.90%
Asian Language** 1,054 43.70%
Other Language 2,793 30.71%
Total 11,457 1.55%

* "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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