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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 4,267,496 94.18% 4,653,361 92.66%
Spanish 75,931 1.68% 168,778 3.36%
Other Indo-European* 143,832 3.17% 124,719 2.48%
Asian Language** 33,715 0.74% 61,447 1.22%
Other 10,160 0.22% 13,768 0.27%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,531,134 100.00% 5,022,073 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 76,697 45.44%
Other Indo-European* 36,736 29.46%
Asian Language** 31,942 51.98%
Other Language 3,535 25.68%
Total 148,910 2.97%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 28,400 37.40%
Other Indo-European* 41,449 28.82%
Asian Language** 20,812 61.73%
Other Language 2,635 25.94%
Total 93,296 2.06%

* "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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