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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 1,389,032 95.21% 1,469,046 92.12%
Spanish 24,555 1.68% 77,655 4.87%
Other Indo-European* 35,289 2.42% 27,905 1.75%
Asian Language** 7,298 0.50% 15,014 0.94%
Other 2,730 0.19% 5,080 0.32%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,458,904 100.00% 1,594,700 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 39,825 51.28%
Other Indo-European* 7,862 28.17%
Asian Language** 8,142 54.23%
Other Language 1,943 38.25%
Total 57,772 3.62%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,605 35.04%
Other Indo-European* 9,263 26.25%
Asian Language** 3,673 50.33%
Other Language 711 26.04%
Total 22,252 1.53%

* "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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