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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 635,261 93.54% 562,065 92.24%
Spanish 12,127 1.79% 17,805 2.92%
Other Indo-European* 23,602 3.48% 17,985 2.95%
Asian Language** 5,041 0.74% 6,543 1.07%
Other 3,104 0.46% 4,947 0.81%
Total Population Age 5+ 679,135 100.00% 609,345 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 7,100 39.88%
Other Indo-European* 6,307 35.07%
Asian Language** 3,522 53.83%
Other Language 1,184 23.93%
Total 18,113 2.97%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,503 37.13%
Other Indo-European* 7,781 32.97%
Asian Language** 2,681 53.18%
Other Language 651 20.97%
Total 15,616 2.30%

* "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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