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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 435,260 87.86% 496,982 85.72%
Spanish 10,020 2.02% 16,674 2.88%
Other Indo-European* 9,859 1.99% 12,851 2.22%
Asian Language** 12,690 2.56% 22,186 3.83%
Other 27,596 5.57% 31,047 5.36%
Total Population Age 5+ 495,425 100.00% 579,740 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 5,801 34.79%
Other Indo-European* 3,667 28.53%
Asian Language** 11,659 52.55%
Other Language 9,715 31.29%
Total 30,842 5.32%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,234 32.28%
Other Indo-European* 2,560 25.97%
Asian Language** 6,447 50.80%
Other Language 10,239 37.10%
Total 22,480 4.54%

* "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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