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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 4,753,523 84.80% 4,838,679 81.26%
Spanish 228,458 4.08% 370,011 6.21%
Other Indo-European* 499,581 8.91% 529,784 8.90%
Asian Language** 96,706 1.73% 171,253 2.88%
Other 27,483 0.49% 44,522 0.75%
Total Population Age 5+ 5,605,751 100.00% 5,954,249 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 162,908 44.03%
Other Indo-European* 194,256 36.67%
Asian Language** 89,931 52.51%
Other Language 11,978 26.90%
Total 459,073 7.71%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 111,108 48.63%
Other Indo-European* 174,117 34.85%
Asian Language** 56,285 58.20%
Other Language 7,276 26.47%
Total 348,786 6.22%

* "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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