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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 8,024,930 93.37% 8,487,401 91.57%
Spanish 137,490 1.60% 246,688 2.66%
Other Indo-European* 298,146 3.47% 303,122 3.27%
Asian Language** 59,426 0.69% 104,467 1.13%
Other 74,745 0.87% 127,104 1.37%
Total Population Age 5+ 8,594,737 100.00% 9,268,782 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 100,689 40.82%
Other Indo-European* 96,900 31.97%
Asian Language** 48,454 46.38%
Other Language 48,563 38.21%
Total 294,606 3.18%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 46,144 33.56%
Other Indo-European* 88,934 29.83%
Asian Language** 28,229 47.50%
Other Language 25,355 33.92%
Total 188,662 2.20%

* "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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