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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 329,770 92.07% 354,311 89.72%
Spanish 8,642 2.41% 15,105 3.83%
Other Indo-European* 8,823 2.46% 9,987 2.53%
Asian Language** 10,302 2.88% 14,174 3.59%
Other 617 0.17% 1,315 0.33%
Total Population Age 5+ 358,154 100.00% 394,892 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,460 29.53%
Other Indo-European* 2,718 27.22%
Asian Language** 5,524 38.97%
Other Language 291 22.13%
Total 12,993 3.29%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,330 26.96%
Other Indo-European* 1,911 21.66%
Asian Language** 3,931 38.16%
Other Language 169 27.39%
Total 8,341 2.33%

* "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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