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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 9,996,969 82.65% 11,569,739 76.91%
Spanish 1,447,747 11.97% 2,476,528 16.46%
Other Indo-European* 515,779 4.26% 755,214 5.02%
Asian Language** 85,994 0.71% 164,516 1.09%
Other 48,795 0.40% 77,606 0.52%
Total Population Age 5+ 12,095,284 100.00% 15,043,603 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,187,335 47.94%
Other Indo-European* 268,263 35.52%
Asian Language** 75,990 46.19%
Other Language 23,277 29.99%
Total 1,554,865 10.34%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 729,078 50.36%
Other Indo-European* 175,974 34.12%
Asian Language** 40,465 47.06%
Other Language 15,786 32.35%
Total 961,303 7.95%

* "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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