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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 596,537 88.51% 625,419 84.08%
Spanish 29,904 4.44% 56,436 7.59%
Other Indo-European* 22,646 3.36% 24,753 3.33%
Asian Language** 16,989 2.52% 20,463 2.75%
Other 7,927 1.18% 16,780 2.26%
Total Population Age 5+ 674,003 100.00% 743,851 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 32,775 58.07%
Other Indo-European* 7,485 30.24%
Asian Language** 9,556 46.70%
Other Language 3,927 23.40%
Total 53,743 7.22%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 14,737 49.28%
Other Indo-European* 6,391 28.22%
Asian Language** 7,896 46.48%
Other Language 2,067 26.08%
Total 31,091 4.61%

* "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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