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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 525,281 84.51% 544,872 80.65%
Spanish 39,776 6.40% 68,987 10.21%
Other Indo-European* 47,250 7.60% 44,587 6.60%
Asian Language** 6,727 1.08% 13,547 2.01%
Other 2,538 0.41% 3,629 0.54%
Total Population Age 5+ 621,572 100.00% 675,622 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 32,440 47.02%
Other Indo-European* 14,323 32.12%
Asian Language** 7,401 54.63%
Other Language 989 27.25%
Total 55,153 8.16%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 20,912 52.57%
Other Indo-European* 14,737 31.19%
Asian Language** 4,342 64.55%
Other Language 908 35.78%
Total 40,899 6.58%

* "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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