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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 917,961 91.28% 973,064 87.33%
Spanish 12,926 1.29% 22,789 2.05%
Other Indo-European* 43,970 4.37% 58,965 5.29%
Asian Language** 13,429 1.34% 28,937 2.60%
Other 17,409 1.73% 30,473 2.73%
Total Population Age 5+ 1,005,695 100.00% 1,114,228 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 8,469 37.16%
Other Indo-European* 18,397 31.20%
Asian Language** 12,346 42.67%
Other Language 11,250 36.92%
Total 50,462 4.53%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 4,041 31.26%
Other Indo-European* 12,307 27.99%
Asian Language** 6,468 48.16%
Other Language 6,404 36.79%
Total 29,220 2.91%

* "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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