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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 551,852 78.81% 556,682 68.43%
Spanish 47,523 6.79% 93,760 11.53%
Other Indo-European* 50,517 7.21% 75,544 9.29%
Asian Language** 38,923 5.56% 65,111 8.00%
Other 11,455 1.64% 22,363 2.75%
Total Population Age 5+ 700,270 100.00% 813,460 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 45,710 48.75%
Other Indo-European* 21,770 28.82%
Asian Language** 32,109 49.31%
Other Language 5,412 24.20%
Total 105,001 12.91%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 23,023 48.45%
Other Indo-European* 14,379 28.46%
Asian Language** 20,059 51.54%
Other Language 2,847 24.85%
Total 60,308 8.61%

* "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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