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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 2,674,519 79.25% 3,523,487 74.14%
Spanish 478,234 14.17% 927,395 19.51%
Other Indo-European* 71,425 2.12% 102,004 2.15%
Asian Language** 31,243 0.93% 62,204 1.31%
Other 119,385 3.54% 137,634 2.90%
Total Population Age 5+ 3,374,806 100.00% 4,752,724 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 435,186 46.93%
Other Indo-European* 26,527 26.01%
Asian Language** 28,280 45.46%
Other Language 49,944 36.29%
Total 539,937 11.36%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 187,314 39.17%
Other Indo-European* 17,775 24.89%
Asian Language** 15,472 49.52%
Other Language 55,346 46.36%
Total 275,907 8.18%

* "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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