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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 3,811,700 94.38% 4,201,503 91.51%
Spanish 42,362 1.05% 132,066 2.88%
Other Indo-European* 116,226 2.88% 110,644 2.41%
Asian Language** 47,776 1.18% 103,520 2.25%
Other 20,797 0.51% 43,758 0.95%
Total Population Age 5+ 4,038,861 100.00% 4,591,491 100.00%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 2000
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 61,817 46.81%
Other Indo-European* 30,433 27.51%
Asian Language** 57,969 56.00%
Other Language 17,292 39.52%
Total 167,511 3.65%

Population Speaking English Less Than "Very Well" in 1990
Language Spoken at Home: Number Percent
Spanish 14,200 33.52%
Other Indo-European* 30,363 26.12%
Asian Language** 30,163 63.13%
Other Language 4,615 22.19%
Total 79,341 1.96%

* "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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