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Berrien County

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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 141,887 94.91% 141,013 92.88%
Spanish 1,998 1.34% 4,547 2.99%
Other Indo-European* 4,436 2.97% 4,215 2.78%
Asian Language** 778 0.52% 1,224 0.81%
Other 403 0.27% 826 0.54%
Total Population Age 5+ 149,502 100.00% 151,825 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 1,907 41.94%
Other Indo-European* 1,195 28.35%
Asian Language** 497 40.60%
Other Language 177 21.43%
Total 3,776 2.49%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 750 37.54%
Other Indo-European* 1,409 31.76%
Asian Language** 245 31.49%
Other Language 76 18.86%
Total 2,480 1.66%

* "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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