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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 600,077 93.03% 641,282 90.38%
Spanish 9,139 1.42% 16,694 2.35%
Other Indo-European* 24,665 3.82% 30,877 4.35%
Asian Language** 8,543 1.32% 14,304 2.02%
Other 2,621 0.41% 6,352 0.90%
Total Population Age 5+ 645,045 100.00% 709,509 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 5,991 35.89%
Other Indo-European* 10,768 34.87%
Asian Language** 7,362 51.47%
Other Language 1,405 22.12%
Total 25,526 3.60%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 3,224 35.28%
Other Indo-European* 7,714 31.28%
Asian Language** 4,542 53.17%
Other Language 678 25.87%
Total 16,158 2.50%

* "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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