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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 3,651,936 97.13% 3,989,795 96.09%
Spanish 42,653 1.13% 89,729 2.16%
Other Indo-European* 44,985 1.20% 43,812 1.06%
Asian Language** 15,842 0.42% 22,122 0.53%
Other 4,386 0.12% 6,820 0.16%
Total Population Age 5+ 3,759,802 100.00% 4,152,278 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 40,299 44.91%
Other Indo-European* 11,225 25.62%
Asian Language** 10,546 47.67%
Other Language 1,847 27.08%
Total 63,917 1.54%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 14,168 33.22%
Other Indo-European* 12,731 28.30%
Asian Language** 7,920 49.99%
Other Language 1,199 27.34%
Total 36,018 0.96%

* "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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