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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 242,279 85.94% 257,919 81.77%
Spanish 16,127 5.72% 29,062 9.21%
Other Indo-European* 20,172 7.16% 24,230 7.68%
Asian Language** 1,999 0.71% 2,744 0.87%
Other 1,330 0.47% 1,474 0.47%
Total Population Age 5+ 281,907 100.00% 315,429 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 11,363 39.10%
Other Indo-European* 12,130 50.06%
Asian Language** 1,170 42.64%
Other Language 582 39.48%
Total 25,245 8.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 6,734 41.76%
Other Indo-European* 8,011 39.71%
Asian Language** 891 44.57%
Other Language 416 31.28%
Total 16,052 5.69%

* "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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