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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 964,298 86.84% 1,425,748 76.91%
Spanish 85,474 7.70% 299,947 16.18%
Other Indo-European* 29,370 2.64% 47,183 2.55%
Asian Language** 25,070 2.26% 68,523 3.70%
Other 6,238 0.56% 12,319 0.66%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,110,450 100.00% 1,853,720 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 162,301 54.11%
Other Indo-European* 12,295 26.06%
Asian Language** 29,222 42.65%
Other Language 3,869 31.41%
Total 207,687 11.20%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 41,073 48.05%
Other Indo-European* 6,963 23.71%
Asian Language** 12,280 48.98%
Other Language 1,852 29.69%
Total 62,168 5.60%

* "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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