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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 5,794,548 80.47% 5,854,578 74.52%
Spanish 621,416 8.63% 967,741 12.32%
Other Indo-European* 567,972 7.89% 659,248 8.39%
Asian Language** 153,671 2.13% 275,832 3.51%
Other 63,089 0.88% 98,869 1.26%
Total Population Age 5+ 7,200,696 100.00% 7,856,268 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 483,069 49.92%
Other Indo-European* 241,627 36.65%
Asian Language** 119,581 43.35%
Other Language 28,811 29.14%
Total 873,088 11.11%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 311,025 50.05%
Other Indo-European* 205,089 36.11%
Asian Language** 73,390 47.76%
Other Language 19,492 30.90%
Total 608,996 8.46%

* "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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