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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 3,494,359 89.91% 3,771,003 90.79%
Spanish 72,173 1.86% 105,189 2.53%
Other Indo-European* 285,827 7.35% 225,750 5.44%
Asian Language** 29,017 0.75% 41,963 1.01%
Other 4,977 0.13% 9,462 0.23%
Total Population Age 5+ 3,886,353 100.00% 4,153,367 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 38,609 36.70%
Other Indo-European* 53,948 23.90%
Asian Language** 21,755 51.84%
Other Language 2,595 27.43%
Total 116,907 2.81%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 27,942 38.72%
Other Indo-European* 83,384 29.17%
Asian Language** 15,473 53.32%
Other Language 1,506 30.26%
Total 128,305 3.30%

* "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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