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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 240,047 89.68% 288,646 84.41%
Spanish 16,324 6.10% 35,438 10.36%
Other Indo-European* 7,673 2.87% 11,018 3.22%
Asian Language** 2,429 0.91% 4,820 1.41%
Other 1,209 0.45% 2,027 0.59%
Total Population Age 5+ 267,682 100.00% 341,949 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 12,355 34.86%
Other Indo-European* 2,847 25.84%
Asian Language** 1,999 41.47%
Other Language 427 21.07%
Total 17,628 5.16%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 6,210 38.04%
Other Indo-European* 2,013 26.23%
Asian Language** 1,034 42.57%
Other Language 347 28.70%
Total 9,604 3.59%

* "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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