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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 766,840 42.63% 676,347 32.08%
Spanish 901,270 50.11% 1,248,616 59.22%
Other Indo-European* 110,127 6.12% 155,369 7.37%
Asian Language** 11,784 0.66% 16,395 0.78%
Other 8,740 0.49% 11,785 0.56%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,798,761 100.00% 2,108,512 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 658,721 52.76%
Other Indo-European* 62,059 39.94%
Asian Language** 7,789 47.51%
Other Language 3,245 27.54%
Total 731,814 34.71%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 506,008 56.14%
Other Indo-European* 48,159 43.73%
Asian Language** 5,833 49.50%
Other Language 2,948 33.73%
Total 562,948 31.30%

* "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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