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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 4,900,334 95.22% 5,295,736 93.60%
Spanish 90,146 1.75% 185,576 3.28%
Other Indo-European* 123,751 2.40% 126,530 2.24%
Asian Language** 22,894 0.44% 36,707 0.65%
Other 9,035 0.18% 13,269 0.23%
Total Population Age 5+ 5,146,160 100.00% 5,657,818 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 84,355 45.46%
Other Indo-European* 37,637 29.75%
Asian Language** 17,798 48.49%
Other Language 3,637 27.41%
Total 143,427 2.54%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 31,276 34.69%
Other Indo-European* 41,879 33.84%
Asian Language** 11,017 48.12%
Other Language 2,810 31.10%
Total 86,982 1.69%

* "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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