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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 1,642,022 84.09% 2,148,696 75.85%
Spanish 227,500 11.65% 540,742 19.09%
Other Indo-European* 47,471 2.43% 70,694 2.50%
Asian Language** 20,196 1.03% 45,155 1.59%
Other 15,607 0.80% 27,407 0.97%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,952,796 100.00% 2,832,694 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 280,854 51.94%
Other Indo-European* 19,867 28.10%
Asian Language** 20,221 44.78%
Other Language 7,093 25.88%
Total 328,035 11.58%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 93,507 41.10%
Other Indo-European* 12,704 26.76%
Asian Language** 10,131 50.16%
Other Language 4,457 28.56%
Total 120,799 6.19%

* "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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