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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 626,826 57.69% 729,268 56.81%
Spanish 432,578 39.82% 517,887 40.35%
Other Indo-European* 16,352 1.51% 18,515 1.44%
Asian Language** 9,440 0.87% 14,861 1.16%
Other 1,264 0.12% 3,083 0.24%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,086,460 100.00% 1,283,614 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 177,858 34.34%
Other Indo-European* 3,944 21.30%
Asian Language** 6,564 44.17%
Other Language 930 30.17%
Total 189,296 14.75%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 174,596 40.36%
Other Indo-European* 3,623 22.16%
Asian Language** 4,435 46.98%
Other Language 376 29.75%
Total 183,030 16.85%

* "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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