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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 2,125,884 97.22% 2,368,450 95.03%
Spanish 27,351 1.25% 82,465 3.31%
Other Indo-European* 21,976 1.01% 22,695 0.91%
Asian Language** 8,972 0.41% 15,238 0.61%
Other 2,482 0.11% 3,357 0.13%
Total Population Age 5+ 2,186,665 100.00% 2,492,205 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 43,535 52.79%
Other Indo-European* 5,332 23.49%
Asian Language** 7,865 51.61%
Other Language 977 29.10%
Total 57,709 2.32%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 10,066 36.80%
Other Indo-European* 6,323 28.77%
Asian Language** 4,310 48.04%
Other Language 686 27.64%
Total 21,385 0.98%

* "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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