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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 10,278,294 92.72% 10,583,054 91.58%
Spanish 213,096 1.92% 356,754 3.09%
Other Indo-European* 477,747 4.31% 428,122 3.70%
Asian Language** 84,785 0.76% 143,955 1.25%
Other 31,248 0.28% 43,653 0.38%
Total Population Age 5+ 11,085,170 100.00% 11,555,538 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 140,502 39.38%
Other Indo-European* 138,542 32.36%
Asian Language** 76,183 52.92%
Other Language 13,030 29.85%
Total 368,257 3.19%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 88,149 41.37%
Other Indo-European* 150,490 31.50%
Asian Language** 45,009 53.09%
Other Language 9,361 29.96%
Total 293,009 2.64%

* "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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