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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 379,291 92.46% 417,425 89.35%
Spanish 11,071 2.70% 24,481 5.24%
Other Indo-European* 14,757 3.60% 15,437 3.30%
Asian Language** 3,861 0.94% 7,413 1.59%
Other 1,236 0.30% 2,447 0.52%
Total Population Age 5+ 410,216 100.00% 467,203 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,057 49.25%
Other Indo-European* 3,938 25.51%
Asian Language** 3,219 43.42%
Other Language 581 23.74%
Total 19,795 4.24%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,097 37.01%
Other Indo-European* 4,084 27.68%
Asian Language** 1,728 44.76%
Other Language 330 26.70%
Total 10,239 2.50%

* "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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