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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 1,036,681 90.77% 1,110,198 92.20%
Spanish 5,934 0.52% 9,611 0.80%
Other Indo-European* 93,189 8.16% 76,079 6.32%
Asian Language** 4,178 0.37% 5,737 0.48%
Other 2,140 0.19% 2,539 0.21%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,142,122 100.00% 1,204,164 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 2,664 27.72%
Other Indo-European* 18,165 23.88%
Asian Language** 2,485 43.32%
Other Language 749 29.50%
Total 24,063 2.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,573 26.51%
Other Indo-European* 23,681 25.41%
Asian Language** 2,162 51.75%
Other Language 343 16.03%
Total 27,759 2.43%

* "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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