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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 298,966 92.75% 426,736 78.77%
Spanish 7,996 2.48% 56,827 10.49%
Other Indo-European* 7,530 2.34% 26,829 4.95%
Asian Language** 6,703 2.08% 26,524 4.90%
Other 1,141 0.35% 4,835 0.89%
Total Population Age 5+ 322,336 100.00% 541,751 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 34,450 60.62%
Other Indo-European* 9,831 36.64%
Asian Language** 15,650 59.00%
Other Language 1,117 23.10%
Total 61,048 11.27%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,095 38.71%
Other Indo-European* 2,326 30.89%
Asian Language** 3,993 59.57%
Other Language 280 24.54%
Total 9,694 3.01%

* "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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