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Shelby County

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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 88,887 97.19% 126,979 95.80%
Spanish 945 1.03% 3,332 2.51%
Other Indo-European* 1,151 1.26% 1,500 1.13%
Asian Language** 356 0.39% 458 0.35%
Other 115 0.13% 273 0.21%
Total Population Age 5+ 91,454 100.00% 132,542 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,487 44.63%
Other Indo-European* 427 28.47%
Asian Language** 134 29.26%
Other Language 23 8.42%
Total 2,071 1.56%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 225 23.81%
Other Indo-European* 235 20.42%
Asian Language** 154 43.26%
Other Language 31 26.96%
Total 645 0.71%

* "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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